A world of opportunities: Kent State education abroad

Mariah Helaney

Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to learn about different cultures while in a smaller, friendly environment.

There are a few options for how students study abroad based on if they choose a faculty-led trip or not. The College of Arts and Sciences has many Faculty-led Education Abroad programs on the books for the 2017-2018 academic year, said Alyssa Mazey, assistant director of International Programs and Education Abroad.

“The faculty-led trips range from tropical places like Costa Rica to culturally rich places like Trinidad and Tobago,” Mazey said. “There are many different features of each of our 14 programs.”

With the exception of biology programs, most of them are structured for any student to benefit from, with a passport being the only real requirement, Mazey said.

“Each program has a different and unique characteristic that any student in any major can benefit from,” she said. “Typically we like to have a faculty member/chaperone accompany the program if there is a language barrier so it is not required the student knows it.”

The 3 different upcoming application deadlines are:

  • Winter Travel Programs Application Deadlines: Sep. 15, 2017

  • Spring Break: Dec. 1, 2017

  • May Intersession: Jan. 26, 2018

“The thing that I love most about my job is that I am able to work with a variety of faculty members with a variety of expertise in many different subjects,” Mazey said. “Each of faculty members are able to bring passion to their students and their respective programs — working with each of them is a blessing.”

Here are some of the many options for Kent State study abroad programs for the 2017-2018 catalog year:

Salamanca, Spain

Salamanca is famous for its nearly 800-year-old university, and the famous people who have studied there, making it a city rich in history.

Brianna Vinas, Students for Global Education secretary, is currently studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. she has helped the Kent State Spanish Faculty with the two groups of students hoping to immerse into the Spanish Language and Culture.

“When people ask me to describe my studying abroad experience, I say that it is a healthy addiction — if it is carefully planned out in advance as far as finances are concerned,” Vinas said. “The first time that I came to Spain, I fell in love with a language that was not my mother language, but most importantly, I felt a connection with a culture that is not my own.”

Vinas explains the connection she has built as something that she can not describe verbally, as only experiencing it will do it justice.

“The only way I can sum it up into words would be: Although there is no place like home, you can feel at home — even when you are far away,” she said. “I enjoy immersing myself in the culture of another country as it not only teaches me a lot about the Spanish, but it also teaches me a lot about myself and where I see myself in the future.”

Students take classes in the morning and then participate in cultural activities in the afternoon, including museum visits, cultural cooking lessons and flamenco lessons. Students often visit nearby cities of Segovia and Avila as well.

“I find joy in how friendly the Spanish are to those around them, even to those whom they have just met,” Vinas said.


Australia immerses students in the “land down under” looking at ecological diversity, climate change, the evolution of the Australian flora and fauna, and the intersecting histories of two major human immigration events, said Jessica Cassidy, President of Education Abroad Leadership Council.

“Australia has a biology-based theme, but there are things for every student to do and activities for every interest,” she said. “We gained a new perspective on the world and saw the diversity through a cross-cultural perspective”

Students visit four different regions representing some of the country’s ecological diversity: Sydney, Blue Mountains National Park, Kakadu National Park, The Great Barrier Reef and The Daintree Rainforest.

“The trip was biology-based and with that we gained a new perspective on the world and saw the diversity through a wide element of culture,” Cassidy said.

On the trip, Cassidy had the opportunity to ride elephants, see animals unlike anywhere else and learn about the culture.

“One thing that was very different there was the clothing culture, and it really changes you as a person to be conscious and respectful of the culture you are emerged in — there’s something beautiful within the diversity within a culture,” she said.

KSU Florence, Italy

Kent State has been educating students in Florence for more than 40 years. With English instructions, Kent State Florence offers a wide selection of courses in various subject areas, along with all levels of Italian language.

Andrew Wyatt,Kent State Florence Student Advisor for the 2016-17 academic year, said the city of Florence is an optimal location for study abroad because it holds so much western culture. Primarily known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, students can find the works of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Galileo and so many others within walking distance of the Kent State center.

“No matter what students study, from fashion to communications to arts and sciences, the city of Florence is a fundamental reference point for any subject area,” Wyatt said. “Florence is also a short train ride away from other important Italian cities, such as Rome, Venice and Milan, so students are studying within a dense cluster of cultural capitals.”

Kent State Florence is located at Palazzo Vettori, walking distance from the cathedral, so Wyatt said students have their own hub right within the center of Florence. The school is fully equipped with anything they might need throughout their time, including a courtyard and library.

”Students feel more comfortable exploring a foreign culture because they know they have professors and staff to support and help them,” he said. “Not all programs can boast the type of community and support system that we offer our students.”

KSU Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is the home of the European headquarters of the United Nations, World Health Organization and many other international and non-governmental organizations.

Geneva offers beautiful scenery and outdoor activities, from hiking and skiing in the Swiss Alps, to beaches, sporting events, theatre, and because of its location in central Europe, it is easy to travel to other countries around Europe, said Nicholas Vasiloff,assistant director for Education Abroad.

Because of its distinct multinational and multilingual nature, Geneva has many options for visitors studying the area.

“Geneva is incredibly diverse, multinational, multicultural and multilingual — in fact, there are four official languages in Switzerland,” Vasiloff said. “I personally love the uniquely cosmopolitan flair that Geneva offers.”

As a Kent State Geneva student, you will become a true member of the international community as you take classes with students from around the world. You will gain a greater sense of independence, improved leadership skills and an expanded worldview — not to mention travel savvy and great new friendships
“Sophomores through Seniors are able to participate in the Kent State Geneva program, and there’s even a short-term summer option for students who are limited on time,” Vasiloff said.

These are just a few of the many options for Education Abroad at Kent State. To explore more, visit http://www.kent.edu/EducationAbroad.

Mariah Helaney is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].