Indiana Daily Student

SPEA revamps overseas study programs

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs is making an extensive effort to expand its available study abroad programs.

SPEA currently offers eight summer study abroad programs that travel to countries around the world, including China, Germany, Kenya, Vietnam and more.

Lauren Roberts of SPEA Overseas Education said these programs are being improved and other courses are being added, including a semester- or year-long exchange study program in the Netherlands and France.

“It’s important for any students to get out of the country for a while. It gives you a perspective you otherwise wouldn’t get,” Roberts, a 2010 graduate of the Kelley School of Business said, adding that she wished she could have had the opportunity to study internationally herself.

“It takes you out of your comfort zone to a large extent and forces you to change your world view and consider other points of view that you wouldn’t have before.”

One of SPEA’s existing study abroad programs, IU at Oxford, has renovated its curriculum with a new focus on environmental policy. Since the program’s creation in 2006, it focuses on governance and decision-making.

Stephanie Hayes Richards, associate director of the IU at Oxford program, said the new topic was chosen due to her and director of the program Ken Richards’ expertise in this area of study.

“Because Ken and I specialize in environmental policy, we thought we could deliver an environmentally-themed program better on an annual basis,” Hayes Richards said, adding that this theme will likely be a permanent change.

Similar to all SPEA study abroad programs, IU at Oxford is open to students of all majors and academic departments, but a strong interest in environmental policy is required and will be looked for through coursework, volunteer work or internships from applicants, Hayes Richards said.

Throughout the six-week summer program, the students will take two environmental policy courses taught by Richards and Hayes Richards, as well as take several field trips to places relevant to their studies — such as U.K. environmental agencies, Parliament and a nuclear power station.

“What we’re trying to do is give the students a sense of the European perspective on the environment,” Hayes Richards said. “The EU and the U.K. have both taken more advanced measure to protect their environment than we have in the U.S.
The idea, he added, is to take students to live in Oxford for six weeks, expose them to European policy and bring them back to the U.S. to influence our efforts.”

Roberts said other SPEA study abroad programs pending approval include a course in Barcelona and one in Moscow.

Roberts expects the international study growth in SPEA to continue in future years, with the school possibly adding a course in South America.

“We have a really diverse faculty and a lot of people who would be interested in creating their own programs like this,” Roberts said. “I see these programs growing, but at the end of the day we just want to see students study abroad, whether it be with our programs or others.”

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 Indiana Daily Student