The decision to study abroad can often be difficult. Choosing where to study abroad can be even harder.

Cal Poly currently offers 22 study abroad programs, 19 of the programs already have enrollment and several are in progress.

One of Cal Poly’s most popular and longest running programs is the London Study Program, which is usually offered during fall and spring quarter. This year, however, it was only offered in the fall.

Ashley Rumburg, an English senior, participated in the London Study Program during her junior year. While she was there, she went to classes three days a week and traveled on the weekends or went on fields trips pertaining to the classes she was taking, she said.

“The culture there has a lot of history,” Rumburg said.

Classes involved going to plays, operas and even a backstage tour of the Globe, she said.

In an information meeting for the fall 2006 London Study Program, John Battenburg, director for International Education, said students will study social, cultural and economic characteristics of British society.

“London is your laboratory,” Battenburg said at the meeting.

Another popular program is the Thai Study, offered during spring quarter and is currently in progress. Students stay at the Chiang Mai University in Chiang Mai and, in addition to classes, they visit hill tribes and travel to Vietnam and Cambodia, Battenburg said.

“That type of experience cannot be gotten from the classroom,” he said, adding that internships are also available.

Cal Poly at Sea continues to be a highly used program where students stay on the 585-foot Golden Bear ship, Brattenburg said.

The three trips on rotation include the South Pacific cruise, visiting Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Hawaii; the South American cruise, which stops in Chile, Mexico and Seattle; and the Asian cruise that docks in Hawaii, the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Japan, according to the Cal Poly at Sea brochure. Details about the three cruises can be found online or in the International Education office in building 38.

For students seeking a year-long experience, CSU International Programs offers trips to Spain at universities in Madrid and Grenada. CSU International Programs is a collaboration of 50 universities throughout California and is affiliated with 19 different countries, Battenburg said.

Aric Stone, a mechanical engineering senior, visited Spain during his junior year. While in Spain, Stone stayed in Madrid for schooling but traveled to Munich, Brussels, Belgium, Amsterdam and Egypt.

Some of his travels were class-orientated and others were done in his free time. Stone said the cost of living in Spain is cheaper than living in San Luis Obispo.

Cal Poly offers a variety of programs that are faculty led. These programs, called Extended Fields, vary from year to year and one such trip travels to Cuernavaca in July for four weeks, according to a press release.

James Keese, resident director for the Mexico program, said students live with host families and visit Teotihuacan, all the while learning about Mexican culture.

“Mexico is a very interesting country once you get into the core of it,” he said.

Brattenburg said a new study abroad program is currently in the works, for a five-week program that would take place in Peru starting in summer 2007.

Keese is also part of the group that is working to get Peru as a study abroad option. Students would study Spanish and Latin American culture and visit Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon, he said, adding that there would also be a community service-based program. The team expects a result by the end of Spring quarter.

For more information regarding the different programs contact the International Education and Programs at 756-1477 or go online at www.calpoly.edu/~iep/.

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