Professor leads study abroad

Emma Finkbeiner

The NMU Study Abroad Fair will take place Monday, Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and will be held in the Whitman Hall Commons. This fair is an opportunity for students to learn more about study abroad programs sponsored by NMU.Generally, study abroad programs in a university setting involve partnership with another university abroad, taking classes and figuring finances. Northern has opportunities such as this in Cuba, Germany, Korea, Brazil and England among others. Not only are traditional programs offered, but also such options as student teaching, international internships and volunteer abroad.

NMU Professor Peter Goodrich
NMU Professor Peter Goodrich

This winter, Peter Goodrich, a professor in the NMU English department, is leading a full semester study abroad trip in Macerata, Italy.

“This is the first time in over ten years that an NMU faculty member has helped to lead this excellent program to Italy,” Goodrich said.

This program was organized by the NMU study abroad partner organization AHA International. Goodrich said no  previous Italian language knowledge is required to go, but students will enroll in an Italian language course once abroad as well as a variety of other classes ranging from art and art history to history and political science. All of these courses count for NMU credit.

Goodrich said some of the perks of this study abroad opportunity such as, “weekend excursions to Florence and Rome,” and also the fact that “classes take place in a Renaissance palace older than the USA!” By studying in a town off the beaten tourist path, Goodrich said this is an ideal opportunity to enjoy a more genuine Italian lifestyle.

Goodrich has previous experience studying abroad during his own education and teaching. He studied at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and taught at the German universities of Mainz, Marburg and Kassel.

Goodrich expressed great respect for study abroad programs.

“My favorite part of leading study abroad groups is seeing the thrill in the students’ eyes when they discover new things,” he said. “Especially the way they develop into more confident, mature and worldly individuals as a result. Study abroad is the single best educational experience and investment anyone can have.”

This is a great example of a more traditional study abroad opportunity held by NMU. A more non-traditional opportunity available through NMU is the volunteer abroad trips. A great example of this is the Thailand service trip over Holiday break lead by Jon Barch and Rachel Harris from the Center for Student Enrichment.

Senior multimedia journalism major Trent Podskalan is participating in the Thailand trip this year. He decided to take advantage of this option because it is his last chance to travel before he graduates in May.

“What appealed to me most was the fact that it’s a service trip,” Podskalan said. “I have always put others before myself.”

He expects to “gain a new understanding of another culture,” and also thinks “it will really show how much we take for granted over here.”

During the Thailand service trip, students will be assisting a local Hill tribe build a new community center, teach children English, and attend an Elephant reserve. Students will also be spending New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai and three days on the beach in Phuket.

For more information on the Study Abroad Fair, email Susan Morgan at [email protected] or by phone at 906-227-2510.

Editor’s Note: Trent Podskalan is a staff writer for the NW.