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Academic Considerations

Seek Cultural Immersion

Look for Programs that Offer Significant Cultural Integration. Deep involvement in the host culture leads to personal growth and instills cross-cultural skills. You are encouraged to consider programs that get you into classes with host-country students at a host university and programs that get you out of the classroom and into the community. Seek a program that houses you with a family or host country roommate, or look for systematic experiences outside the classroom such as internships, service learning or research opportunities, or the option to take some courses in a host-country university. Be realistic; not all students are ready for the same amount of cultural immersion.

Look for a Program that Provides Insights into Another Society

Seek to study in a society that contrasts with yours. The department encourages students to consider study at non-Western sites. Countries which are former British colonies provide exceptional opportunities for students to experience cultures out of which some very current literature and films are created, works which address issues germane to the challenges and conflicts and benefits of globalization, (e.g., African and South Asian countries.) These regions also provide exceptional opportunities for the linguistic study of worked Englishes. Learn about other traditions and perspectives in Communication studies. See how scholars in another country view their discipline; chose a program where your professors are from the host country. Consider taking at least one U.S. American literature course taught by a host-country faculty member. An outside perspective on your own society can be a real eye-opener. Look for opportunities to study educational systems differing from what you have previously experienced, especially if your professional goal is teaching.

Study at a Host-Country University

Study in a university alongside degree-seeking students from the country in which you are studying. Some programs consist entirely of such study, whereas others combine it with special courses aimed at non-native students. Study at host-country university works especially well for student interested in experiencing a different academic system and for students who want to select classes from a wide variety of offerings, including lots of coursework toward their major or minor. If the language of instruction is not English, you need at least 2-3 years of college-level language background. Students with sufficient language skills can study in almost any host country-language (over 70 countries available).

Develop or Improve Second Language Skills

Beginning or intermediate level students: consider a program where you can study a language and be surrounded by it. Students with advanced language skills: consider a program taught in the language. Plan your language course sequence carefully or you may find yourself out of sequence upon return to PSU. French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish are the only languages at PSU which offer each of the first three courses both Fall and Spring Semester. For all others, only the first and third courses are offered Fall Semester and the second in the Spring.