Study Abroad is the chance for students from Kent State University to go to other countries around the world to continue their education while experience various cultures and languages. Study abroad provides many interesting stories from the students themselves, professors, international campuses and even the foothold at the Kent State Main campus.
I spoke with Amber Bollinger, an Education Abroad Advisor and general coordinator of all programs to learn more about the study abroad programs in depth. Amber is in charge of advising all of the study abroad programs for students, and specifically coordinating the Florence program. She is an extremely busy woman who handles a lot of different aspects within the Global Education Department and can answer anything related to study abroad because she has experience with all programs. She spent a semester abroad as well and various other smaller study abroad programs and said that she was encouraged to help other students share in the experience because of how it impacted her.
The Global Education Department is split into four different divisions: International Admissions, international Student/Scholar Services. International Partnerships and Study Abroad. All four of the divisions work interdepartmentally and foster relationships among one another. The hierarchy of the system begins with the Provost of Global Education at the top and then the head of each of the four divisions and below them fall other advisors, graduate assistants, student workers and interns.
There are over 150 Kent State sponsored programs ranging from 10 days with a class to one month during the summer to an entire semester or a year exchange. Over 820 students study abroad a year from Kent State. There are many countries available for students to study in and they are open to any student of any major. The main programs are Florence, Italy, and Geneva, Switzerland. The Florence program is the only program that allows all credits to transfer directly to Kent State because they are Kent courses. Other programs require the classes to be approved for credit beforehand. Students can pay for all study abroad programs with their bursar’s account, scholarships and financial aid.
Some fascinating things about study abroad is the breadth of the program. It spans across so many countries that it is a huge affair that Bollinger says is always growing and changing. She expressed that it is a big operation to coordinate even across campus because there are so many different majors and options for students. Some other areas of conflict in the program are funding for students, dispelling myths of expense and language requirement, inclusion of all majors, promotion, expansion and world conflicts that affect students abroad.
Some things coming up to promote study abroad are an Expo Week Sept. 15, 16 and 17.
Bollinger also referred me to her two other colleagues as well as the director of the Florence institute and Florentine professor, Fabrizio who will be in Kent in October and would be happy to be interviewed!