Intersession, semester abroad compared

Courtesy of SOFYA FREYMAN  The Office of Study Abroad offers various international programs.

The Office of Study Abroad offers various international programs.

For The News-Letter

Studying abroad, a common experience at Hopkins, is possible through various programs offered throughout the year. However, students can find the process of choosing a program overwhelming. A wide array of study-abroad options, including Intersession trips, summer programs and semester and year-long programs, are available, and students can speak to the merits and disadvantages of each.

Students can begin studying abroad as early as the fall of their sophomore year and can choose to study abroad any semester from sophomore fall through senior fall. Students looking to spend a semester or a full year abroad can in three ways: Direct Enrollment in a University Abroad, Vetted Programs and Hopkins Departmental Programs.

Through the Direct Enrollment method of study abroad, students “apply as visiting, non-degree students directly in the host university and take regularly scheduled classes with national and international students” and then transfer the credits they earned abroad towards their studies at Hopkins.

Vetted Programs are specialized programs that students are unable to directly enroll into, but are able to participate in because they have been evaluated and approved by the Office of Study Abroad and the Faculty Advisory Committee.

Hopkins Departmental Programs are located in Madrid, Paris, Berlin, Bologna, Rome, Tokyo and Nanjing and are convenient for students because credit transfers from these programs have been automatically approved by the school.

Senior Alex Schulick spent a semester in Madrid as part of the Hopkins en Madrid program where students stay with Spanish families and take classes in Spanish at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

“I think the most enriching thing in life is to absorb different people’s perspectives, cultures, and customs, all the while integrating them into your own character and shaping growing from the experience,” Schulick wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

Studying abroad is not limited to the experiences you have and the people you meet and share these experiences with while studying abroad.

“The thrill of traveling and living in a foreign place is fun, but the ultimate reward is to come back home and share with people the new experiences and perspectives you’ve gained,” he wrote.

Schulick believes a longer study abroad experience, semester or year long, is better than a short voyage.

“[It] gives you the chance to absorb the culture and achieve a higher level of fluency in a foreign language,” he wrote.
Sophomore Alessandra Golden looks forward to spending a semester in Europe next year.

[I’m excited to] get to know a city or country in a way that I might never get the chance to again… and also get to explore several other countries in the process,” she wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

In addition to the more traditional study-abroad options, semester and year long programs, students in need of more flexible or shorter study abroad experiences can participate in Intersession and summer study-abroad options. Over Intersession, Hopkins offers three credit trips to Barcelona, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Florence, Ghana, London, Paris, Salamanca and Uganda, open to all students regardless of major or year.

Sophomore Kathryn Cummings plans to participate in the Florence Art History trip over intersession this year.

“[I’ve] always had an interest in [art history], but never had much time to pursue it… straight from the source,” she wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

Cummings decided to study abroad over Intersession because, as an engineering student, it did not interfere with her major requirements and would also gain her three credits.

Senior Elisa Heacock participated in the Hopkins abroad program to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands last year during Intersession.

“I enjoyed meeting new people from Hopkins and going on extremely unique adventures through the Amazon rainforest and Galápagos Islands with them,” she wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “I didn’t want to miss an entire semester with my friends and a whole track/cross country season.”

Similar to Cummings, Heacock noted that as a pre-veterinary student, the Intersession trip allowed her to study abroad without disrupting her completion of pre-vet requirements.

Although students who have participated in the different study-abroad options may try to convince you otherwise, there is no ‘right’ study-abroad option, and students have many options to choose from.

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