UNIQUE PROGRAM TAKES STUDENTS "BEYOND THE CLASSROOM"
Pittsburgh, May 1, 2009 — Ask most college students, and they’ll tell you they want to study abroad as part of their college experience. At least that’s what La Roche College found out when they surveyed the student body before developing a new program that allows students to take a study abroad trip as part of their college education without extra cost. In fact, 75 percent of students queried said they would be interested in a program that meant their parents didn’t have to come up with the extra funds at travel time to send them.
La Roche College’s “Beyond the Classroom: Study Abroad-Study USA” program does just that. As the first college in western Pennsylvania to offer this program and one of the first institutions to offer a combined overseas/USA experience at no additional cost, La Roche developed the idea as a way to add value to a student’s college experience. It comes at a time when the economy demands a little “something extra,” according to La Roche’s Dean of Enrollment Thomas Schaefer, Ph.D., who also serves as associate vice president for academic affairs at the college.
“This is extremely attractive to students and parents who might otherwise have to turn down their child’s request for this kind of experience because of financial concerns in these challenging economic times,” Dr. Schaefer said. “We wanted to add something to the benefits that student already receive as a La Roche student. When we polled our students to find out what they wanted to do, having the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures were at the top of the list.”
Through the program, students’ travel is paid by the time they schedule their travel – usually by the time they have completed their sophomore year. Most college study abroad programs are on a pay-as-you-travel basis, Dr. Schaefer continued.
The La Roche program also differs in that students may choose to go abroad or may stay closer to home in the United States. For example, travel opportunities may include visiting New Orleans and studying the roots of jazz or, for a service opportunity, helping to rebuild areas still affected by Hurricane Katrina. Students may want to go to the western United States and visit a Native American reservation and experience that culture. Or, outside the United States but still close, Canada may serve as a travel learning destination. All experiences will be based upon the opportunities available at the time travel is scheduled, Dr. Schaefer said.
“We believe this program prepares our students for success in today’s global society,” he said. “Our goal is to help students recognize and understand other cultures, especially as our global melting pot becomes larger and our intercultural experiences become more common. This experience only serves as a benefit to students.”
Find out more by going to www.laroche.edu and clicking on the home page link to Study Abroad or calling 412-536-1037.