Spanning the Globe: Rollins Study Abroad Program

April 15, 2009

Rollins' unprecedented efforts to educate students for global citizenship and responsible leadership have received national recognition.  According to the Institute of International Education, Rollins ranks among the top 25 colleges and universities for its study abroad program.  The College also has achieved industry recognition as a leading institution for the internationalization of its faculty.

More than 200 Rollins students gathered recently for orientation to prepare for their summer and fall field studies and study abroad programs.  The students will travel to 15 countries from Australia to Ecuador to Spain to the United Kingdom and some students will even spend a semester at sea. 

“You are the largest group of Rollins students ever to study abroad,” said Roger Casey, provost and chief academic officer. “You are about to embark on one of the most amazing experiences of your life.”

Casey, who has traveled to nearly 70 countries, encouraged the students to “bring back a knowledge base that will change your life forever.”

During the orientation, the students enjoyed the “Taste of the Nations” dinner buffet and participated in several sessions offering background on the countries, insights from faculty and students as well as preparation for the inevitability of culture shock.

“Read, research, prepare, prepare, prepare, but at the end of the day, you need to relax,” said Jennifer J. Campbell, director of study abroad programs. “You are an American in another country.  It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when you will experience culture shock.”

Campbell encouraged the students to take a photo of their boyfriend or girlfriend, a picture of their family and to keep a journal of their experience.

“Those tools, and Skype, will help you get through,” she advised.  The interactive session also offered advice for “reaclimating” when returning home.

David Smith (Class of 2011), who hails from Canada and is more familiar than most with being a foreigner in another country, found the sessions to be worthwhile.  He enjoyed spending more time with his classmates, who will soon embark together to study abroad in Syndey, Australia, for four months.  “Hearing more about the Homestay program [students will stay with host families] and about the stages of culture shock was interesting,” he said.  “It’s nice to know what to expect and what’s normal.” 

The Office of International Programs received a record number of applicants this year, each of whom had to demonstrate strong academic performance and an excellent record of personal responsibility in the areas of conduct and service to the Rollins community.  Applicants for the Rollins’ semester programs must also submit faculty references and a personal essay and are interviewed by a selection committee specific to each program.

Based on participation, Rollins ranks among the top 25 colleges and universities in its category for its study abroad program, according to the Open Doors Report published by the Institute of International Education.

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