Friday, August 20, 2010

Murry State University Engages First-Year Students in New Study Abroad Program

While not the first institution in the United States to send first-year students abroad, Murry State University has started a new program Study Abroad 101 that sent twenty-nine incoming first-year students and one transfer student to Costa Rica.  In the following video, Melanie McCallon, Associate Director of Education Abroad, describes the Study Abroad 101 program and plans to expand in the future including a new program in Panama in addition to returning to Costa Rica in summer 2011 with Germany and Iceland as potential destinations in the future.

I really like the idea of engaging first-year students in international opportunities.  I was an exchange student in Germany the summer between high school graduation and starting college and it was one of the best experiences of my life.  You can read more about the program here.  Following is another video about the program that is of interest.

What is your institution/organization doing to engage first-year students?


  1. Masa Israel Journey is working with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Haifa to encourage more students to study abroad in Israel during their freshman year of college, especially as universities are experiencing overcrowding of housing and growing class sizes.

    Also, studying abroad during freshman year can be easier, since students are not cornered into graduation requirements or requirements of their major yet.

    We plan on working more with these types of programs in the near future to make Freshman Year Abroad a more widely-recognized option for students.

  2. @Miranda ~ Many thanks for your comment. The Masa Israel Journey efforts with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Haifa to get more freshmen students to study abroad sound great!

  3. Allowing entering freshmen to participate in a study abroad program is an excellent concept. It provides the opportunity for these students to bond far beyond what would ordinarily take place during a traditional, on-campus orientation. Being in a different/new country, learning that culture, taking an academic course and being among a group of new individuals provide students with a much wider perspective of the world of education. Working with a community college, we allow first year students the opportunity to study abroad after the semester begins, however this pre-college option should be considered. Early exposure to this type of experience is truly beneficial to the student. I recently learned my nephew’s 11 year old son has been selected by People to People to participate in a study abroad program. My first thoughts were, he’s too young to travel to another country without his parents, but imagining what he stands to learn and gain from this experience is truly unbelievable.