Last spring semester Kylie Corson, a senior psychology major, stepped outside her comfort zone by studying abroad in Seville, Spain.
When she was not riding camels in the Moroccan desert, touring Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium or bonding with new friends, she took history, writing and culture classes at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, she said.
Corson's homestay arrangement involved living with her host mother, who only spoke Spanish in the house.
This experience helped her learn about a different culture and pushed her to speak more Spanish, she said.
Through the university's Center for International Studies (CIS), students are able to live in places as far-flung as the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador or Auckland, New Zealand, and receive academic credit in the process.
As part of their preparations for departure, students meet with Susan Layne, the study abroad adviser, who counsels students and approves classes for core credit.
Courses that count as writing emphasis (WEM), global awareness (GA) and citizenship & social values (CSV) must be taken on campus because there is a strict way of monitoring the credit hours for those requirements, Layne said.
“The parameters in the core committee and the way it’s all set up for writing emphasis is very specific,” she said. “We cannot be the writing police in a lot of other locations, whether it’s the transfer students, students taking summer classes, or study abroad students.”
Jesica Severson, the study abroad coordinator, helps prospective students with applications, class credit issues and scholarships.
The university has seen an increase in the number of students studying abroad, rising from 37 students in fall 2012 to 120 students in spring 2013 and 302 students over the summer, she said.
The university's flagship study abroad programs are in London, Florence and Seville, but Severson said she often reminds students that those are not the only places they can go.
“Most of our semester programs aren’t really geared toward any particular major, “ she said. “You can take a variety of different courses, and I tell students you can approach a semester abroad like any other semester here at TCU.”
Students can take classes that count toward major, minor, core and elective requirements. Severson recommends meeting with an academic advisor first to see if going abroad is feasible.
“I think study abroad is the single most powerful, impactful, influential and educational experience a student can have,” she said. “When every student comes back and talks to me, I can see the internal changes in them from being abroad.”
According to the CIS website, students that go abroad pay the same tuition rate as those on campus, plus an additional fee that differs by program. Financial aid is transferable, and special scholarships are also available.
Studying abroad was a learning experience in more ways than one, Corson said.
“I highly recommend studying abroad. I was nervous but it totally paid off. I made some best friends over there and now have best friends all over the world,” Corson said. “I learned a lot about myself by being independent and traveling to countries I had no idea about.”
To get started, view all of the university’s abroad locations on a map.