By Isabella Machado, Contributing Writer
Chelsea Correia marvels at the art displayed in Italy’s Palazzo Riso, dreaming of a day where her art will also take its place in the museum. She curls up on the wooden bench in front of a marble statue and begins to sketch. After her day of sketching the greats, Correia will return to her cozy room which she shares with fellow students. She plans to spend her weekend traveling to Mykonos, a little Greek island, to tour the ruins. Correia is a junior majoring in both graphic design and photography at UMass Dartmouth. Last semester, she took part of the Study Abroad program and took art classes in the birthplace of the world’s greatest artists: Florence, Italy. Upon returning, Correia immediately became employed at UMass Study Abroad office where she designs posters to study abroad as well as shares her experience with other students in hopes that they too will take the plunge to study abroad.
The Study Abroad program offered by UMass Dartmouth is a multi-step program. It isn’t quite as simple as signing up and taking off to Switzerland for a semester. The first step is advising. Students must fill out an advisement form to ensure that studying abroad is truly the best option. If students are at least eighteen, have at least completed one semester at UMass, and have a GPA above 2.5, then they are eligible to study abroad. If students meet all requirements, then they can explore the variety of study programs to find the program that best suits their major. The UMass Dartmouth website has an accessible database of the study programs that students can explore. UMass Dartmouth also provides a free e-book called A Student Guide to Study Abroad that is accessible through the UMass Dartmouth website.
So why should students study abroad? Besides the fresh food and cultural experiences, studying abroad has real world advantages that can help bolster a student’s resume.
“Employers see students who have studied abroad as self-motivated, independent, willing to take on challenges and able to cope with a variety of problems and situations,” said Gina Reis, the Assistant Director for the International Programs Office, IPO.
Reis’s role as Assistant Director is to help guide students through the process of studying abroad whether that be through answering questions or simply letting students know about the different opportunities that UMass provides. The thought of traveling overseas may seem daunting and expensive to some students but through the variety of programs that UMass provides, even students on a budget can spend a semester abroad.
“The IPO is excited to have developed a tool this past summer so that students can easily search those more affordable options,” said Reis.
This resource can be found online at Umass Dartmouth’s accessible data base. Students can also make an appointment with Reis for further information and advising to find the country that will suit their educational needs.
Chelsea Correia- firstname.lastname@example.org
Gina Reis- Greis@umassd.edu