Making the world their classroom
Three study-abroad students will share their experiences
in a new feature
Photo courtesy Ian Waldraff
Senior theater major Ian Waldraff, studying at Temple Rome this spring, is one of three students keeping study abroad journals for a new Temple Times feature.
When Ian Waldraff arrived in Italy to attend Temple’s Rome Campus for a semester, he was amazed at what he saw: bursts of color, lush greenery, sunny days and deeply ornamented architecture that surrounded him everywhere he looked.
“Every place of residence, every piece of architecture, every facade reflects a remarkable degree of warmth and care,” he observed.
Waldraff, a senior theater major from Bethlehem, Pa., is just one of the many Temple students studying far from Philadelphia this spring. And throughout the semester, he’ll be sharing his experiences with the Temple community as part of a new regular Temple Times feature, “Overseas Adventures.”
Waldraff is one of three students selected by International Programs to write twice a month from their temporary homes abroad, sharing their photos and observations. Taylor Benjamin-Britton, a junior majoring in political studies and Asian studies, is writing from Temple University Japan’s Tokyo campus, and Khanh Le, a junior history major, writes from Vietnam National University in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The students’ biweekly journal entries are linked online from the Temple Times and International Programs Web sites, and will appear in a monthly Overseas Adventures feature in the print Temple Times newspaper.
Increasing numbers of Temple students are seeking education abroad programs, said Denise Connerty, director of International Programs.
“Our students are thinking globally and recognizing that they need to learn more about, and experience, the rest of the world,” Connerty said. “Temple is particularly fortunate to have its own campuses in Rome and Tokyo, and a longstanding program in London.”
Students may attend the Rome, Tokyo or London campuses for a semester or an entire academic year, and take courses in a range of disciplines. According to International Programs, 476 Temple students attended one of these Temple campuses during the 2004–05 academic year. Another 198 Temple students took advantage of other study abroad options last year: summer programs, foreign university exchanges and non-Temple programs, in locations as wide-ranging as Ghana, Turkey, India, Paris, Puerto Rico and Brazil.
In addition, the Institute for Global Management Studies and Temple’s CIBER sponsor exchanges for undergraduate business students in Paris, Lyon, Dublin and Mexico City, and this year The Fox School of Business began a collaboration with Welingkar Institute of Management in India.
Study abroad isn’t limited only to the undergraduate years, either.
“Although study abroad is most commonly thought of as part of the undergraduate experience, it is becoming more popular in graduate schools, especially those that do professional training in law and business,” said Adelaide Ferguson, assistant dean of graduate and international programs for the Beasley School of Law.
In The Fox School of Business, the international M.B.A. program sends its students to Paris, Tokyo and Mumbai (Bombay), India, as part of the curriculum, with an additional option to visit Shanghai, China. Students in the E.M.B.A. are required to take an annual trip abroad, this year to Budapest, Hungary, and Prague, Czech Republic.
About 18 percent of the Law School’s students study abroad during their time at Temple, and this year alone J.D. students have earned credits in Italy, Ireland, Turkey, China, Germany and Japan.
Temple students’ increasing pursuit of education abroad reflects a national trend. The U.S. Senate even passed a resolution recently declaring 2006 “the Year of Study Abroad,” in recognition of the importance of diversity and cultural understanding.
“It’s very valuable, especially in today’s interdependent world, to put yourself in the shoes of someone raised in a different culture and educational system, and to learn that there are multiple ways of viewing the world and interpreting information,” Connerty said. “Study abroad allows students to test their assumptions and beliefs; this process is very significant for personal and intellectual growth, and produces well-informed world citizens.”
Khanh Le, who lives in Philadelphia, is spending his semester at Vietnam National University in Hanoi, through the Council on International Educational Exchange. He is a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship for study abroad.
Through travel and exploration, Le has already found differences among different regions of his new home.
“Hanoi is a beautiful city, and is very different from Saigon. Hanoi is more peaceful, and has a slower pace,” he observed.
Taylor Benjamin-Britton, a resident of Downingtown, Pa., received the John Means study abroad scholarship, and is being featured on Blogabroad.com and in The Philadelphia Inquirer, where she regularly shares her experiences overseas.
Like Waldraff and Le, Benjamin-Britton was mesmerized by her surroundings the moment she stepped off the plane. Yet even before she arrived, she was fascinated by her perception of the exotic culture and adventure that Japan would hold.
“Samurai and castles, kimono, legends, Shinto shrines — all of these really captured my imagination,” she said. “Japan, in my mind, was this great adventure to be had.”
To read Ian’s, Khanh’s and Taylor’s journal entries, visit the
“Overseas Adventures: Spring 2006” Web page at www.temple.edu/temple_times/oip.
- By Erica B. Fajge