Summer abroad program

The hustle and bustle of deadlines and assignments often gets students down. But there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Its called summer break.

As the school year wanes, students consider what they will do for the summer. Some look for summer jobs and internships, while others aim to spend time with friends and family.

Then theres the prospect of taking a summer course, which can be done either locally or abroad.

The University of Torontos summer abroad program offers students the opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree credit overseas. Most courses span four to six weeks with plenty of time to travel and experience the atmosphere of the host country. And with 12 courses to choose from, students shouldnt have any problem finding a program. Whether its fine art history in Italy or environmental studies in Ecuador that strikes your fancy, the program offers it.

Katie Sehl, an english and classical history major, spent last summer in France taking a french language course. As cliché as it sounds, it was the experience of a lifetime, says Katie. It was both rewarding and fulfilling. Hemingway said that there is never any end to Paris, and I feel the same.

Some refer to the summer abroad program as a living textbook, where students are able to experience many of the things they are learning through a combination of local culture, art, history, language, and other aspects of the host country.

Instead of studying off of slides you can go to the museum, see the art, and experience what you are learning first hand, says Ken Derry, program manager of Professional and International Programs at Woodsworth College. It is a different type of academic experience; more intense and focused. The thing that surprised most students is how much they enjoyed the course. We repeatedly hear that students liked the course and it was the most rewarding that they had taken.

Classes typically run from Monday to Thursday, from about 8:30 a.m. until noon, though the times differ for each individual course. Mandatory field trips, which may take place outside of class hours, are included in some courses. Moreover, students get plenty of spare time in which they can absorb the local atmosphere.

The cost of each program is estimated between $5,000 and $6,500. This may seem steep, but the price includes course fees (for one fullyear credit), airfare, meals, residence, and textbooks. Student can arrange their own accommodation and flight if they choose, which would affect the estimated price. Bursaries, awards, and other forms of financial aid are available for students who may have trouble trying to pony up the dough. Students can also apply for OSAP just as they would for a summer course in Toronto or UTM.

Some international students take advantage of this study abroad program to earn a credit in their home country. One unique factor that contributes to the success of the Hong Kong study abroad program is that one third of its participants have family that live in the area. This gives these students the opportunity to earn a University of Toronto credit while living at home with family for the summer. For the students that have experienced the study abroad program, one element in particular seems unsurpassed: enduring friendships. A common theme in the program, says Derry. Student Katie Sehl echoed the sentiment. The best part, remarks Katie, was that I was able to experience it all with the most amazing people who I will love forever, and all of them are from U of T. Its only logical: with small classroom sizes and an exciting atmosphere, close friendships that extend beyond the summer program are likely to flourish.

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