Ryan Chartrand

Have you always had a deep desire to discover the unknown world beyond our own? Well if you take a deeper look into what Cal Poly State University has to offer, you will find endless possibilities within International Education and Programs, otherwise known as Cal Poly Study Abroad.

John D. Battenburg, director of International Education and Programs and professor of English, says there are three common misconceptions about studying abroad.

“First, that fluency in another language is required; second, that it is expensive; and third, that it lengthens the time to graduation,” he said.

However, if planned accordingly, study abroad can help you stay on track to graduation and fulfill all your requirements, he said.

Students interested in study abroad must fill out an application before they can go any further.

“Students are suggested to have about a 2.6 accumulative grade point average along with interviews and faculty recommendations,” International Education and Programs associate director Monica Schechter said.

“Of course, some are more competitive than others, such as the CSU International, which is a year-long program that requires a 2.7 to 3.0 grade point average since there are limited spaces with the more popular trips.”

Students interested in study abroad may be lured into the fascinating cultures and grab at the chance to travel to unknown worlds, but most won’t realize just how much these programs have to offer until they have completed one themselves.

“All fields have become a more global society and (especially) students going into an international career will benefit,” Schechter said.

“Study Abroad offers the knowledge of a second language, adaptability, personal awareness, problem solving, independence and flexibility.”

There is an ongoing amount of International Education programs offered at Cal Poly. Everything you could think of, from exchange programs, CSU system-wide study abroad programs, affiliate programs, to Cal Poly faculty-led quarter abroad programs, are available for students.

Once student decide which program is the right one, how can they possibly choose which location they want to venture to first?

There are 36 countries and 140 program sites to choose from, but the five programs offered through International Education and Programs (IEP) all have their own special alluring power.

Still, if students find themselves lucky enough to travel abroad longer it is highly recommended. “I would like to see every student go abroad for an entire year,” Battenburg said. “We believe there is a program for every student.”

The first trip to take into consideration is the Australia Study Program. This program takes 35 to 45 students and 2 to 3 faculty members to Australia during the winter quarter.

Cal Poly faculty at the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia will teach students for one quarter. Students may obtain 12 to 16 units of Cal Poly credit.

This program will be filled with academic classes and weekend field trips to nearby cities. After the eight-week session, students will have two weeks to venture out and explore Australia on their own.

If Australia sounds like the perfect place to start, check out http://australiastudy.calpoly.edu.

If a destination on land doesn’t sound like a huge adventure to you, then perhaps you need a little something to help get your feet wet.

How about Cal Poly’s Semester at Sea? This program is offered in collaboration with the California Maritime Academy (CMA) Training Cruise Program.

Cal Poly students and faculty spend two months during spring quarter aboard The Golden Bear, a 500-foot ex-navy oceanographic vessel.

Semester at Sea will give students the chance to experience what it is like to live on a ship while participating in ship duties, attending classes, traveling in international waters and even finding time to sunbathe on the helo deck.

Make sure to pay attention to the Sea Cruise’s charted course, for it rotates in a three-year cycle. Each year, its destination is a different region in the Pacific.

Destinations that have been sought after in previous years include Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, Papeete, Tahiti, Auckland, New Zealand, Brisbane, Fiji and Honolulu, Hawaii.

There is also the South American cruise, which makes stops in each of the following places: Costa Rica, Chile, the Cocos Islands, Mexico and then makes its way up to the Seattle coast.

The third and final voyage is the Asian Cruise which often visits places such as: Hawaii, the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan and exotic islands along the way.

The only catch prior to departure is that students must become CPR and First Aid-certified and must also pass a life-saving and survival at sea course.

For more information on this adventure, go to http://cpatsea.calpoly.edu.

If you’re pretty sure you have yet to master your sea legs, then perhaps summer study in London will fit you just right.

Since 1984, more than 2,500 students and 140 faculty members have participated in Cal Poly’s London Study Abroad program. The six-week session will have students immersing themselves in courses that use London as their very own laboratory.

While planned mostly for general education experiences in the arts, humanities and social sciences, the program draws students from all majors.

If a hands-on experience of art, music, history and architecture from London’s most established concert halls, theatres, museums, cathedrals and halls of government sounds like a dream come true to you, then pursue the dream at http://www.calpoly.edu/~Indnstdy.

The last two programs you’ll want to check out are the Thai Study and Peru Summer Study programs.

Once you have decided which part of the world you belong in, it is time to start preparing for your international adventure.

Cal Poly helps students prepare for going abroad with a number of informational meetings that anyone is welcome to attend. Once students decide to take part in a program, orientation sessions are provided to help the students know what to expect when they arrive, and to give them travel tips and anything else they might need to know.

Every year, more and more students are opening their eyes to the vast opportunities that are possible thanks to Study Abroad trips. The total number of student enrollments has increased since the 2002-03 school year from 549 students to 812 students in the 2005-06 school year and is still rising.

However, the student enrollment isn’t the only improvement Cal Poly is seeing from year to year with this program. With the London trip alone the cost of the trip has decreased from $15,000 to $10,000.

Battenburg has worked to help students save a third of their expenses by moving the trip to the summer quarter and changing it to a six-week course. All the while, students are still able to earn the same amount of credit.

Battenburg also points out that it is almost as cheap to attend the Thai Study session as it is to attend a quarter at Cal Poly. In other words, if you can obtain your education at Cal Poly, you can do so abroad as well.

“Our overall goal in Study Abroad is to access a variety of quality international experiences, such as internships and project-based learning,” Schechter said.

Even if you are just curious about what Study Abroad has to offer, don’t miss the Study Abroad Fair that will be held on Friday, Oct. 5 on Dexter Lawn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Students will get the opportunity to talk to more than 40 on-campus and off-campus representatives within the Study Abroad, internship and travel programs.

If you would like to obtain information on the event, go to the Web site at http://iep.calpoly.edu.

Looking for more Study Abroad information, such as the variety of programs offered, rates, application deadlines and fees? Check out the Cal Poly Study Abroad homepage at http://www.calpoly.edu/~iep or head to the Study Abroad office in the Mathematics and Science building, room 145.

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