College Adds New Study Abroad Program during Spring Break
Recent changes to the Federal Pell Grant Program have made it harder for students who receive these grants to study abroad during the summer, because Pell Grant is only awarded two semesters per academic year. In response, the College of Arts and Sciences has taken steps to increase the number of international opportunities available to students with the launch of its spring break study abroad program.
“This program is adjusting to the needs of Georgia State students,” said International Programs Coordinator Gayle Nelson. “Not only for financial aid—a lot of our students work so it’s hard for them to get off for three or seven weeks for a study abroad program. This allows more students to participate.”
Enrollment for this year’s spring break study abroad is already full with a total of 50 students. Programs will be hosted in Dublin, London, Cuba, Brazil and Japan, led by professors Tanya Caldwell (English), Melissa McLeod (English), Chip Carey (Political Science), Lakeyta Bonnett (Political Science) and Denis Gainty (History) respectively.
Students registered for the program during the spring semester, allowing them to use funding such as Pell Grant and the Hope Scholarship to cover the program’s tuition cost—options not necessarily available during summer study abroad programs. A generous donation from the Thalia and Michael C. Carlos Foundation has given the college the ability to award each student $500 to use toward the total cost of his or her program.
Program coordinators have already begun to assign their students coursework to prepare for the spring break experience. Caldwell’s students are currently reading Dubliners, The Importance of Being Earnest, Landing and A Modest Proposal, A Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufacture for her course, Literary Dublin, which will explore Dublin’s class structure and culture. She hopes the literature comes to life for her students, inspiring them to do more travel and explore more cultures.
“I think this program shows Georgia State thinking in innovative ways, ways that allow our students the global experience,” she said. “I hope it’ll make them want to be a global citizen and get global careers.”
Nelson believes that the students will learn to better understand and respect cultural differences while abroad.
“One of the most important things we can give students is the international experience. It builds confidence but it also changes the way students perceive the world. Even one week is enough time for students to develop self and cultural awareness,” said Nelson.