Sophomore psychology major Teddy Kamody was inspired to study abroad after his sister did and shared her experience with him.
He attended a meeting during the fall semester and solidified his decision to go abroad.
This semester, the College of Arts and Sciences offered nine new courses at the Florence campus in psychology, sociology and political science that allowed students like Kamody to seamlessly fit studying abroad into their college experience.
“That gives us a really nice opportunity to broaden the base of arts and science courses that are available in Florence to make the program in general over there much more accessible to students of all walks of life, all majors, all interest areas, all career aspirations,” said Kristin Stasiowski, director of International Programs and Education Abroad.
Politics of the Global Economy
Courses offered in the 2015 Florence Summer Institute
The Revolution in Modern Thought: How Philosophy in Florence Shaped the Way We Think Today
The City of Florence: Achieving Balance Between Architecture and Ecology
Last semester, the college only sent two of its students to the Florence campus. This semester, 13 students went abroad to Italy.
“I was able to continue my psychology courses and take a law class because I might do a minor in politics, so it definitely helped a lot,” Kamody said. “If it wasn’t for those, then I wouldn’t have been able to come because there would’ve been no courses for me.”
The increase in courses is part of College of Arts and Sciences Dean James Blank’s desire to offer students special opportunities that fit into their curriculum at Kent State without causing them to stay longer.
Blank said it is important to provide opportunities that help students prepare for the careers that they want. When determining which courses to offer, Stasiowski said they tried to identify the strongest and largest majors within the college and then identify the most important courses within those majors.
The college began promoting the courses through classroom visits, meetings, promotional videos and word of mouth through faculty, staff and students who had already gone abroad.
“I think the best ambassadors are the students who went before,” Blank said.
Stasiowski said when she goes into classes to discuss study abroad opportunities with students, she asks them if education should be about just acquiring knowledge or expanding horizons and changing world perceptions.
“What we try to do is refocus students’ attention on the centrality and the necessity of study abroad as an integral force in the overall nature of their education and that everything that they do can work with study abroad to make sure that they’re really getting the best experience out of their undergraduate education,” Stasiowski said.
Any College of Arts and Sciences student who decided to study abroad in Florence and take one of the new courses received a $2,500 scholarship. The money was taken from the dean’s fund. This is an initiative that will be continued.
“He’s decided that regardless of what sense it makes financially, within his complex budget of the College of Arts and Sciences, he’s going to put the money where the value is, and that’s in the education of the students because that’s the mission of the university,” Stasiowski said.
The college will also be offering three new courses for the Florence Summer Institute program, making the total number of new courses 12. The college is also offering study abroad opportunities to students at the regional campuses, an effort Blank hopes to continue and expand.
Stasiowski said the college’s efforts aren’t focused only on Florence but on increasing study abroad opportunities across the college.
“In general, I would say we’re trying to create a better infrastructure across the board so that we can finally make an indent in Florence but that we can also then continue to support new projects,” Stasiowski said.
Blank said from the student perspective, one thing to think about is that this is the one time in their lives when they are going to have time to study abroad and explore themselves and their disciplines.
“Not only is it intellectually rewarding, it could be very good to help your career in all sorts of ways you might not have imagined,” Blank said. “Personally, it’s rewarding you get to experience a different culture. It’s fun. It’s important. It broadens you.”
Kamody had the same thought when he chose to study abroad. He didn’t want to pass up the opportunity.
“Two weeks in,” Kamody said, “and it’s already the coolest semester.”
Contact Audrey Fletcher at [email protected]