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New study abroad class enables students to earn 1-6 credits in their major

By Mallory Green
On April 19, 2011

Ever wanted to earn credit in your major by studying abroad, but couldn't find the right course to fit in your paradigm?

This school year Winston-Salem State offered new courses for credit that may help.

"Many universities and colleges across the United States are trying to make sure that students get appropriate credit for their study abroad experiences," said Joti Sekhon, director of International Programs.

"However, at WSSU there was no mechanism to ensure that students would get credit for a course or experience related to their major if that course was not listed in the catalog," she said.

"I worked with the International Programs Committee to develop the set of courses titled: "‘Study Abroad in the Discipline.'"

The courses were approved by the Academic Standards and Curriculum Committee April 2010.

Study Abroad in the Discipline courses can be taken by all classifications. These courses enable departments to attach their prefix to a course that a student takes abroad, and assign the number of credit hours. The prerequisite for these courses are by departmental approval. Students are eligible to earn 1-6 credit hours.

"Before this newly approved plan, it was difficult for students to find a course for them, primarily because there was no curriculum," said Rickford Grant, international programs adviser.

International Programs offer students a variety of opportunities to travel and study abroad. For example, this summer there is a program in Ghana and Benin open to all majors. The Motor Sport Club is sponsoring a trip to France as well. Five mass communications majors are traveling to Italy to study multimedia.

"In the past three years, we have gone from about 15-20 students studying abroad to more than 50 this year. An increasing number of faculty are leading student groups for study abroad," Sekhon said.

"More faculty members are also advising and encouraging their students to seek opportunities for study abroad."

The summer session is the most popular time for students to study abroad.

Sekhon said that students are hesitant to go overseas for a longer period of time because of real or perceived issues related to the curriculum in the major. She said they feel they will miss out on some required courses.

"However, if students plan well ahead of time, they can go for the semester without losing time toward graduation," Sekhon said.

More students are beginning to go for the whole semester.

Semester-long study abroad is actually less expensive as students can apply federal grants and loans toward the cost of study abroad."

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