This summer 88 East Stroudsburg University students will participate in Study Abroad programs. Many will travel in groups on faculty-led trips, while others will set off on their own to take classes or complete an internship overseas.
“During a spring or fall semester, we typically see five to 10 students study abroad,” said Steve Ives, interim director of international programs at ESU. “But this summer is an exciting time for our students. There are so many opportunities.” The opportunities are diverse in everything from region of the world to courses of study. Leah Morrison, a senior from Erie, Pa. will be in Shanghai, China for two months this summer. The computer science major and Chinese language minor will be returning to China for her second study abroad experience, this time for an internship with Sonner, a software and technology company based in Akron, Ohio with offices in India, Europe and Asia.
“Last fall I studied at Shenyang Normal University in Shenyang, China,” Morrison said. “I only took language courses and that helped me fulfill my minor.” During that time Morrison took classes all day and spent most of her free time traveling and immersing herself in the Chinese language and culture. During this trip, she will spend two months interning in her field of study. “There are a lot of software companies in China, so it is a great place for a computer science major to be,” she said. Morrison’s mentor Jeffery Ruth, Ph.D., professor and chair of modern languages at ESU, encouraged her to take this opportunity. “Leah is a real versatile student,” Dr. Ruth said. “She is always finding ways to use her major and minor together.” Morrison is also a Girls Who Code instructor at ESU. The program brings young girls in grades 6-12 to campus to teach them computer programing. Morrison’s students made programs and games to assist in learning new languages. “She continues to develop herself professionally and she is helping to instill the same passion for language learning in the next generation.”
Morrison’s internship was made possible through BRIC Language Systems, an online language training company. The company’s founder, Ryan McMunn, graduated from the University of Colorado in 2002 and then moved to Shanghai, China to work for his father’s company, Tricam Industries. “I made a commitment to learn Mandarin while I was there. I tried and failed several times during my first few years in Shanghai,” McMunn said. “Then I met Kassey Wong. She asked what I want to learn and what I need to learn.” Wong’s method teaches how to discuss your wants and needs as opposed to being forced generic content. This learning method changed McMunn’s life, helping him advance from a quality control inspector to making multi-million dollar deals as Vice President of Asian Operations. Upon his return to the United States in 2012, McMunn and Wong teamed up to start a company that offered online classes on how to learn Mandarin. “I jumped at the idea and we got started developing online content and added Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese,” said McMunn. And, thus BRIC Language Systems was born.
As BRIC grew, McMunn began speaking at college campuses. “One of the most frequently asked questions that I get is ‘How do I get into an international career path?’”, McMunn said. “One of the best ways, in my opinion, is to get an international internship.” With this in mind he expanded his company to include international internships and Teach in China programs. The internship program helps American students coordinate internship opportunities in China and Brazil. The Teach in China program helps people find jobs teaching English in China.
McMunn’s parents, Charles A. “Tony” ’69 and Patricia Lythoge ’68 McMunn are proud ESU alumni, and he is very excited to build a new partnership with the university.
Including Morrison, there are 11 students studying overseas on their own this summer. They will be in Armenia, Germany, Belize, Italy, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. There are 77 students traveling on seven faculty-led trips. A trip to Beijing and Kaifeng, China will give 15 students the chance to study Chinese philosophy, five students are visiting in Cuba, six nursing students will study global health in Costa Rica, seven students will be in Roatan, Honduras to study coral reef ecology, 13 students will travel to St. Croix, Virgin Islands to study a cross-cultural comparison of behavioral therapy, 12 students will study political science in Ghana and 19 students will study comparative media in Sweden.
“Students interested in studying abroad who are nervous to travel on their own for the first time should consider faculty-led trips,” Ives said. “They are typically about two weeks in length and are a great introduction to international travel.” Traveling with professors and a group of other students also helps ease the minds of parents who may be nervous to send their children overseas. “These faculty-led trips usually ignite the ‘travel bug’ in students,” Ives said. “Once they begin to travel, they want to continue.”
As the world we live in continues to evolve into an ever-growing global society, giving students the opportunity to travel and learn in other countries is important. That is why ESU ensures there are so many places to go and topics to study. ESU currently has over 200 partner institutions in 57 counties. And Ives says that list continues to grow.
“Along with an array of options, it is important for students and their families to know that this is also an affordable experience,” Ives said. “Through the International Student Exchange Program students pay tuition to ESU, not their host institution.” Students who are eligible will also receive their financial aid package while studying abroad. “We don’t want students to pass up this opportunity because they believe it is too expensive.” Seeing the world, Ives said, can be an option for any student at ESU.
To learn more about study abroad opportunities contact Ives at 570-422-3527 or email email@example.com.
Journey through China with the students on the faculty-led trip Beijing and Kaifeng. They are sharing their favorite moments of their trip on Facebook.