SIA expands study abroad program to eight countries

Buenos Aires, Argentina - one of the eight cities where students can study and receive credits

The Penn State School of International Affairs now offers a formal program to give students the opportunity for a study abroad semester in eight countries with its new Education Abroad Program. Students can choose to study in

Studying abroad helps students gain in-depth exposure to foreign cultures in a way that cannot be accomplished in the classroom or on a vacation. Students are exposed to new ways of thinking about the world and their own countries. Studying abroad promotes great intercultural competency skills and promotes greater confidence, independence, and self-sufficiency.

Successfully completing an education abroad program can enhance a resume and help students stand out in the job market, and many global employers seek out candidates who have the global experience and unique skills that studying abroad can provide. Education abroad brings a unique intercultural perspective to a student's chosen SIA concentration and can help students develop or improve foreign language skills.

“Our students will now be able to embark on experiential and academic learning in an international setting while still fulfilling M.I.A. degree requirements,” said SIA academic adviser Claudia Prieto. “The opportunity to live, study, and intern abroad adds yet another enriching element to our interdisciplinary program, which already draws upon the intellectual resources of our faculty and the exceptional professional development they receive for careers in the public and private sectors.”

Depending on the specific program, opportunities to study abroad are available in the fall or spring semester of the second year after SIA students have successfully completed the first year of the required core curriculum. By participating in an approved SIA Education Abroad Program, students receive academic grades and credits toward their SIA degree requirements. Prieto works closely with students to choose a program that complements their SIA study. The number of credits earned will vary by program and course offerings at each location, but students will be able to take between 12 to 15 credits of elective coursework at the 400-level. All coursework will be taken abroad at either a study center or a local university.

The programs in India, Kenya, and Senegal will offer students the opportunity to engage in research or participate in an international development internship, the latter which will count toward the SIA capstone requirement.

Students who are interested in other opportunities outside of the approved Penn State programs should consult with the SIA Academic Adviser to review their options.