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Semesters expand study abroad options for Ohio State students

Ohio State’s semester switch affected every OSU student — even those planning to be in school halfway around the world.

“Being on a semester calendar is more similar to the calendar of the rest of the world,” said Grace Johnson, director of study abroad at OSU’s Office of International Affairs. “It’ll sync up nicely with institutions abroad.”

Semesters also give more options to students who only want to go abroad for a month. Spring Semester ends in late April, giving students more opportunities to go abroad for a month in May.

A new category within the 37 May session programs is the one-month Global May program, which is “specifically geared toward first and second-year students of any major who are interested in learning more about the culture and events of a particular country or region,” said Maureen Miller, director of communications for OIA.

During Global May sessions, students will receive three OSU credit hours while still focusing on the cultural attributes of a particular region.

The countries include Brazil, Britain, China, Hungary, Mexico and Uganda. A Global Summer program will also be offered in India.

“It’s still a good chunk of time to be abroad and learn about the history, society and culture, while still leaving time to come home and work before autumn,” Johnson said.

Caitlin King, a recent OSU graduate, works at OIA and said she believes the Global May programs will be beneficial to students who want to experience a different culture.

“The May programs are good for those who want to go away but maybe not for an entire semester,” King said, adding from her own experience that the programs are “very group oriented, if you’re not used to traveling on your own.”

King traveled to Brazil last June with OSU’s Global Gateways program, now being offered as a part of Global May.

Johnson agreed that May sessions provide a “sound introduction” to study abroad for first- and second-year students if they have little experience traveling, but are also “great experiences for anyone who wants to get a taste of a certain region.”

OSU students are taking note of the new programs offered. Bridgid Farrell, a second-year in speech and hearing science, said she knew after her first year she would be able to participate in a full semester program due to the switch.

“Personally, I want to do a semester, stay for a longer period of time,” Farrell said. “(But) it is kind of cool for those who want to do a shorter period.”

Farrell plans to study in Ireland to experience the culture.

For Vignesh Gundesha, a third-year in industrial and systems engineering, the choice to study abroad came when he decided to leave India and attend OSU for his undergraduate degree.

“I guess it was the prospect of studying in America, and absorbing a new culture,” Gundesha said, in regards to his decision to study abroad.

Though he admits he had not previously considered studying in another country while attending OSU, the May sessions appealed to him.

“It does sound interesting, and I would love to check out a new country,” Gundesha said. “It might be more for someone who hasn’t left their home to be able to have a new experience in a short time.”

Though foreign-language programs are a popular choice for study abroad, programs with instruction in English are also available, including the Global May sessions.

The six Global May sessions and one summer session will be led by OSU faculty and have been designed specifically for OSU students.

“We’re not anticipating other institutions participating yet,” Johnson said. “We want to get the programs robust and vibrant within themselves first before opening it up.”

Though priority is given to first and second-year students, the programs are not barring participation from interested upperclassmen.

There will be a study Abroad Expo held Thursday, Sep. 6 at William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where students can get more information on program options.

According to the OIA website, cost of these programs has yet to be determined, but is subsidized by the OIA.

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