Many Marquette students are beginning to prepare for what they call the best semester of their lives — a semester abroad.
According to Jamshid Hosseini, director of international business studies, 150 students will study abroad this spring. In an average fall semester, between 80 and 100 students study abroad, and between 160 and 200 students study abroad in an average spring semester, he said.
During the next few weeks several information sessions will take place to help students prepare to study abroad in the spring. Students will get the chance to hear from other students who have studied abroad and receive information about each program and how to go about planning for their trip.
Study abroad coordinators Kristen Michelson and Hosseini assist students with everything from choosing a program to booking their airfare. Students meet with Michelson or Hosseini based on their college and program of choice.
Marquette offers students the chance to study in 22 different countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America. Students may choose to study for a semester or a full academic year, or they can also choose from a variety of summer programs.
Michelson emphasized the importance of preparation when coordinating study abroad plans.
"Freshman year is not too early to start planning," she said.
To study abroad, students must be at least second-semester sophomores. According to Michelson, the most common time for students to study abroad is spring semester of their junior years. She said students often choose to study during the spring semester because they can extend their travels into the summertime.
When choosing a program, students must consider what type of housing they would like to live in, what type of campus setting they prefer and whether they would like to study at a school that only offers classes in a foreign language. Some students prefer to become fully immersed in the culture of the country they study in by living with a resident.
When Joanna Swidzinski, a College of Arts & Sciences senior, studied for a semester in Madrid, Spain, she lived with a resident.
"It was great because she cooked and cleaned for us. Living with her made the transition so much easier," she said.
Other students who study abroad choose to live in the dormitories and choose a school that offers classes in English.
Kara Carmichael, a College of Communication senior, lived in the dormitories when she studied for a semester at City University in London.
"Getting used to living in the dorms was a little strange because I was used to living in my own apartment at home," she said. "But I still loved it."
According to Hosseini, the establishment of a university-wide study abroad program has been discussed, but it has not yet been determined when the program will go into effect.
When the study abroad merger takes place, there will be one study abroad center for the university and one director for the entire center, who will oversee campus international programs and the study abroad program, Michelson said.