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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
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Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Adventures Abroad: Northern offers various opportunities to travel and learn in other countries

ome students have dreams of swimming with dolphins in the Pacific Ocean, adventuring in the rain forests of Brazil, giving a stirring speech at the Coliseum in Italy or hopping around with the kangaroos of Australia.

At NMU, students have the option of traveling abroad to study, volunteer, intern or student teaching. The Office of International Programs helps students learn about different programs, choosing and financing their trips.

If a student wants to study abroad but cannot devote an entire semester to it, an alternative would be to partake in a faculty-lead study abroad trip. These are intensive, short-term learning experiences.

“These experiences cannot be manufactured or simulated in a classroom,” said Richard Eathorne, professor in the department of earth environmental and geographical sciences.

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One such class for the upcoming winter semester is GC 295. This class, led by Eathorne, will travel to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuadorian mainland. As a faculty-led study, students will meet eight times during the semester and have “class” in the mornings and evenings on site when they travel in May.

“The purpose is to examine environmental studies, the interaction of people, the native environments and how ecotourism can work,” Eathorne said.

Students will partake in a number of activities like cruising around the island with a marine biologist. Students will also take an Amazon River trip, camp out in the jungle, interact with indigenous people and study the native plants and animals of Ecuador.

NMU conducts study abroad through both third party partner organization and exchanges with other universities.

Students can spend a semester or academic year in another country taking classes specific for their major or just for the experience of emerging themselves in the culture. Students take classes at a university and, depending on the program, have the option of staying in an apartment with other students, in a dormitory setting, or they may have the option of doing home stays.

Partner organizations, like the International Studies Abroad program, have pre-determined programs that students can apply for. The IPO will also work with students who find their own opportunities and aid them in arranging it so it counts toward academic credit.

The office also guides students in finding funds for their trips. Scholarships are available for all abroad programs through NMU Foundation private donors and national competitions. For most programs, students earn academic credit which allows them use financial aid, and students might be able to qualify for more by earning good grades or by submitting essays.

The enrollment of at least 14 students is required to proceed with the class, and there are some spots still available. For more information, email Eathorne at [email protected].  The registration deadline is Dec. 16, 2011.

Although studying in a different country is not for everyone, those who want to experience other cultures can learn about interning and teaching abroad, which offer students different opportunities.

Joe Lubig, director of field experiences, said student teaching abroad helps students learn real-world skill sets. Students also gain experience in teaching for diversity, equality and social justice. This opportunity not only helps students complete specific parts of their degrees, but to experience a new culture and develop deeper connections to families, students and communities.

“I think a huge thing that this does is it pushes student teachers more and more out of their comfort zones to try to connect the curriculum with individual students,” Lubig said.

Lubig works with the Office of International Studies to place student teachers. Students can be placed as close as Canada and as far as South America, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe. It is possible to student teach with the Department of Defense, although most students end up teaching in English to students native to the country.

“Our students want this experience with a different culture,” Lubig said. “I think that’s the biggest advantage to all this. Teachers are curious, so they want to bring those experiences to their students.”

Interning abroad through NMU differs from department to department, but Northern offers opportunities through a few partner programs and through its own formal opportunities like the Dublin, Ireland program. Students can also combine their internship with academics. Very few of these internships are paid, and usually a student pays for the opportunity.

Volunteering abroad gives students the chance to perform a social service for third world countries while also immersing them in a completely different culture and way of life.

The Office of International Programs started working with the Superior Edge program last year to put together volunteer opportunities. Last year ,groups were sent to both India and Belize for service learning. These trips occur over breaks in the semester, and this year there will be another trip to Belize over spring break.

“Our office really acts as a resource for faculty and students who want to do something academically as part of their degree, abroad,” said Susan Morgan, coordinator of the office of international studies. “Advisers here work with students on helping them narrow down their options and listening to what their needs are and trying to find them the right experience.”

Students interested in learning more about abroad opportunities can check out the NMU International Office web and Facebook pages.  There are also drop in coffee chats most Wednesdays in room and a study abroad fair in the fall. It is important for students to talk to their academic adviser to learn when the best time to study abroad will be. Students can also email [email protected] is a minimum GPA requirement for the programs, and students on disciplinary probation are not permitted to go.

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