Some University of South Carolina students spent the first month of their summer studying abroad, earning academic credit while gaining cultural experiences.
Participating in a Maymester study abroad program allows students to experience similar opportunities as spending a fall or spring semester abroad without the same time commitment.
In addition, students are able to earn credits toward their majors. Studying abroad may also provide knowledge and experience that can’t be found in a classroom.
“The cultural exchange between my roommates has taught me so much more than what I could ever learn from the Internet or textbooks,” Heimbrook said. “I am understanding the country and its people on a new level, and I think this is something important for any student studying abroad — listen to what the locals have to say.”
Heimbrook studied in Bologna, Italy, for May to conduct research for her independent study project — a cross-cultural comparison of Italian and Japanese cultures.
Other locales for Maymester study included Germany and Taiwan, with trips put on by various schools within USC.
Third-year advertising and fashion merchandising student Brittney Nigro was one of the students involved in the School of Journalism Munich trip.
“I plan on studying abroad a whole semester in the future,” Nigro said. “This was only a trial run.”
Nigro explained her trip as being beneficial in more ways than one. After choosing the Munich trip on advice from friends, Nigro commented that the trip gave her a bit of validation.
“For me, it was the first time I felt like a real journalist,” Nigro said. “It makes me feel a lot more secure in my major.”
Negative factors do exist with taking a Maymester course abroad. Students will not be immersed in a culture to the same degree they would while taking a full semester or year to study abroad. The courses taught are condensed and normally require more intensive studying.
Heimbrook has some advice for students considering studying abroad.
“Decide which countries [or] cultures you would like to study in, and narrow down your search with help from the Study Abroad Office,” she said.
Students pay the same tuition as they would attending a Maymester course on campus but are responsible for their housing, airfare and incidentals as well.
The Study Abroad Office provides students with all of the resources needed to arrange their study abroad trip. Several programs are offered allowing students to study within their major or minor, fulfill their language credits or learn more about a country that interests them.
Blogs as well as other information about study abroad trips can be found at www.studyabroad.sc.edu.