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Why study abroad?

BY Monika Garza | THE RIDER

UTRGV students traveled to China during Summer Session I to study Chinese Culture and Civilization./Courtesy photo
UTRGV students traveled to China during Summer Session I to study Chinese Culture and Civilization./Courtesy photo.

Criminal justice senior Itxel Martinez went to Barcelona, Spain, through a study abroad program offered at UTRGV during the Summer II Session and said it was an experience she will never forget.

“What I liked the most was that I was able to speak my native language, which is Spanish, in a completely different side of the world,” Martinez said. “I was able to, in some way, relate to the people from Spain.”

The UTRGV Office of Global Engagement’s International Programs and Partnerships plans to offer about 30 study abroad programs next summer.

“We have two different ways of study abroad,” said Luis Alcocer, International Programs specialist. “We have short-term and long-term programs.”

UTRGV is now focusing on short-term programs, which normally last between two and four weeks.

“The benefits of studying in another country are that first, personally, you will open your eyes to new things,” Alcocer said. “Professionally, it will also give you a wider perspective on how to deal with other cultures.”

Long-term programs are for students who want to study abroad for one semester or a full academic year.

Students who are interested in long-term programs can schedule an appointment with the International Programs and Partnerships to review their application packet and select a location for study abroad.

“We will have many [classes] from the College of Arts, many from the College of Sciences and a couple more from the College of Business & Entrepreneurship,” Alcocer said. “Also, from the Department of Criminal Justice and we have one that is for doctoral students in [medicine].”

Countries where UTRGV students can study abroad include Peru, China, South Korea, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Belize, Italy and Mexico.

The average cost for short-term study abroad programs is between $4,000 and $6,000, depending on the length of the program and the destination.

“The cost covers the accommodation; normally, breakfast is included, transportation on site and international insurance,” Alcocer said. “The flights, we normally encourage students to get them on their own.”

Scholarships are available for students who want to study in another country, including the International Education Fee Scholarship.

Alcocer said applicants must be enrolled in UTRGV at the time of the program, with a minimum of 12 credit hours for undergraduate students or six credit hours for graduate students. A grade-point average of 2.5 or higher is required.

The International Women’s Board, which is affiliated with the university, offers scholarships to men and women, he said.

The deadline for the International Women’s Board Scholarship is Feb. 6 and Feb. 10 for the International Education Fee Scholarship.

UTRGV Communication Professor William Strong is planning to offer two programs in Mexico for students next summer; however, the programs are awaiting approval.

“The course will be Intercultural Communication and a Spanish course,” Strong said. “There’s several great ways of learning in life: Books is one, lectures is two and travel is another. Just the experience of traveling is an incredible learning tool.”

Students who want more information regarding study abroad programs may call International Programs and Partnerships on the Edinburg campus at 665-3572 and on the Brownsville campus at 882-8955 or email them at ipp@utrgv.edu.


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