Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Michaela Rutledge and Erika Meza
The study abroad program at Eastern Illinois University takes students to their country of choice – Spain, Mexico, Italy and many others – allowing them to gain education and experience.
While studying abroad, students can do internships, student teach, experience a new culture, and most importantly, they learn. They also can earn college credits.
Study abroad is not all fun and games. “There is definitely study in study abroad,” Sarah Grandstaff, study abroad coordinator at EIU, said.
Students are warned that if they do not perform well in their classes, they may not get the credits they are hoping for.
While abroad, students have the option to either enroll in a university in their host country or they can go abroad with EIU professors and learn from them. The type of education they enroll in differs depending on the location they choose.
The students get their study abroad credits preapproved by EIU, so taking a class in a foreign country will not affect their ability to graduate on time.
Eastern students must have at least a 2.0 GPA, not be on conduct prohibition, and have spent at least a year at Eastern to study abroad, but requirements may differ depending on the program that they will be completing abroad. Some colleges that students enroll in abroad require they have at least a 3.0.
For students who are concerned that studying abroad is out of their reach, the study abroad coordinators at EIU are willing to help in any way possible.
To support student’s quests for foreign study, the university sets aside about $100,000 to allow students to go abroad without financial burden.
Also, students can help decide how involved they would like the university to be in their schedule abroad. Whether students choose to have a traditional schedule or more of an independent study, the study abroad office supports them in their journey.
Grandstaff says her favorite part of the job is when she sees students who are almost ready to leave.
“I love that moment when they realize, ‘Yes, this is happening.’”