Study Abroad Course Provides Students Opportunity to ‘Dip Their Toe’ in International Travel

September 20, 2022 | International, News, UToday, Business and Innovation, Student Affairs
By Kirk Baird

Even before Grace Kim applied to The University of Toledo, one course caught her attention: IBUS 4100, the study abroad class.

“The moment I received an email for it during my first semester here, fall 2021, I did not even hesitate and registered for the class,” Kim said. “I absolutely love to travel, and on top of that, add business trips to it? Incredible!”

UToledo students on the study abroad trip last spring take a break from their coursework for a photo while in Milan, Italy.

Now a junior double majoring in marketing and human resources management in the John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation, Kim joined a 24 other UToledo students and two faculty members, Carol Sullinger, senior lecturer in the Department of Marketing and International Business, and Dr. Gary Insch, professor of management, last summer on the study abroad program’s 10-day trip to Italy.

“The highlight of this trip was, of course, the cities and Italian culture that we got to experience, but what also made it amazing was the people I went on this trip with,” Kim said. “We all became a family by the end of the trip and ended up developing very close friends.”

Students interested in this international opportunity as well as other trips through the study abroad program can learn more at the Fall 2022 Study Abroad Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, outside the Thompson Student Union by the water fountain.

Sponsored by the Center for International Studies and Programs, the Study Abroad Fair will have free food and swag and provide information about international study, internships, service-learning, volunteer, work, teaching and travel opportunities.

“We encourage all students to stop by the study abroad fair and learn about the many opportunities at UToledo,” said Xinren Yu, assistant director for the Center for International Studies and Programs. “You might never have thought about having a study abroad experience, or it might just sound impossible to you, but we will explore ways together to make it work.”

For more information, visit the Study Abroad Fair’s event page on Invonet.

The objective of the study abroad class is to give UToledo students who have never traveled internationally the opportunity to “dip their toe” in traveling to other countries, Sullinger said.

“Students come to college and the idea of studying abroad might sound enticing but it’s overwhelming for them to think about leaving the country for an extended period of time and it can also be financially and emotionally overwhelming,” she said. “Many of our students have never traveled internationally before, and then once they do it through this class, they say, ‘OK, I can do this. It’s not as scary and as daunting as I thought it would be because I’ve had this trip that was guided.’”

The study abroad class is a 10-day trip, including travel days, that provides three credit hours to undergraduate and graduate students. The course typically accepts between 25-30 students each year, with an average cost of less than $3,000, which covers lodging, travel in the country and most meals. The more students who enroll in the class, the lower the cost per student, she added. Grants also are available.

Students are responsible for their own flights and airfare to and from the destination, as well as some meals and their spending money.

The focus of the study abroad class is on the economic, political and cultural aspects of the country they visit. And as part of the trip, students have guided tours to various companies and tourist sites.

The study abroad class is part of the Neff College of Business and Innovation — but it is open to all students in the University, Sullinger said.

“We believe all things are related to businesses,” she said. “But we love that we opened it to all students. We really believe in the interdisciplinary approach to education and careers.

“Our mission is to get students exposed to international travel,” she added. “We hope they will embrace it and that this will be the rest of their life.”

Kim said she plans to register for the trip next spring. Students must sign up for the class by Saturday, Oct. 15. Grant applications are due Tuesday, Nov. 1.

“Study abroad is really expensive sometimes, and unaffordable for most university students,” she said. “But UT’s CISP office was truly incredible throughout the trip from providing us grants to make things more affordable, to COVID tests to enter the States and even traveling insurance.”

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