York students now have an opportunity to study abroad during the summer and earn credits towards their degrees through a seamless new initiative called YorkU Abroad, a program that is being developed by York International in collaboration with the University’s Faculties.
“YorkU Abroad is best summed up as “YorkU courses. YorkU credit. YorkU professors. Abroad,” says Robert Obee Tower, coordinator of the YorkU Abroad program.
The program, which has been initiated with support from the Academic Innovation Fund at York University, is designed to provide York students with more opportunities to study abroad during the summer. It is a collaborative effort between York International, the Faculties and faculty members. “We provide the administrative support but they are responsible for creating and delivering the academic components,” says Obee Tower. “Without them, YorkU Abroad would not exist.”
YorkU Abroad offers learning experiences that mesh with York’s current degree programs. “Students get the extra benefit of being taught within an international setting that contextualizes course material and provides a unique experiential education opportunity that is not available on campus,” explains Obee Tower. All of the courses are York University courses, he says, and grades are issued and credits awarded in the same way. The professors teaching the courses follow rubrics that are familiar to students.
“For summer 2013 we are working with seven courses in five countries: China, France, Ghana, Greece, and Italy,” he says. “These programs are open to all York students (and visiting students from other universities) who meet the per-requisites. The programs in China and France are language courses and require a certain level of language competence, but that being said, last year’s group to France was comprised of just over 50 per cent of students who were French majors and featured students from a variety of disciplines from across the University.”
Some of the courses are made possible through arrangements with partner universities abroad; others are stand-alone. Five of the courses and their details are now listed on the YorkU Abroad webpage.
Obee Tower says that two additional courses are being finalized, a fine arts studies course in Rome in June and an international development studies course in Ghana in August. Details will be made available once the courses are finalized.
In 2014, new courses that will be offered are: a 2000-level Spanish language course in Ávila, Spain, and a 2000-level German language course in Berlin, Germany. Other courses include a human rights pedagogy course in Kigali, Rwanda, a music course in India and a 3000-level Chinese language course that will be offered in Nanjing, China.
Students interested in taking part in YorkU Abroad should follow the application process outlined on the appropriate course page. The required forms are linked from each page. Application deadlines vary; the earliest deadline is Feb. 27, and the deadline for each program is listed on its course page. Some are in the process of being updated. For guidance about how to submit an application, students should contact York International by e-mail or drop into the office, which is located on the second floor of York Lanes. Students pay tuition and a program fee to York University. The program fee includes a variety of things, depending on the course needs, which may include costs associated with accommodations, some meals, mandatory excursions, administrative costs and group dinners.
“YorkU Abroad offers a wonderful experiential learning opportunity that features hands-on exposure to subject matter,” says Obee Tower. “Students gain greater fluency for language classes, increased intercultural competence, increased confidence and self-reliance, and best of all, an insatiable thirst for exploring other countries and cultures for the rest of their lives.”
For more information, visit the YorkU Abroad webpage.