Students from Norwich study abroad

study abroadIn the early 1970's, a young student from Duke University was afforded the opportunity to spend a year in Germany. This experience forever sealed his passion and interest in everything German. Little did he know that 20 years later he would find himself teaching that very language and trying to spark that same passion in his students. His interest in German has driven some of his students to look for a way out of his class. A few went so far as to leave the country to get away from him. However, two students did come back, and this time they were all smiles and filled with stories.

Associate Professor David Ward can only grin and nod at this because he has been there. He knows what it's like to study in another country. "I talk to my students about the opportunities for study abroad and how they are out there," said Ward. "My junior year of undergraduate studies I won a Fulbright Fellowship for year of study at the University of Frankfurt."

This year three students from Norwich University traveled to Germany. Nathan Hanawalt, a senior history major, and Michael Camerota, a senior criminal justice major, traveled to Vienna. They were part of the University of Illinois' study abroad program.

Benjamin Sipe, a junior history major, is currently studying in Munich. He is part of the "Junior Year in Munich" program.

"The JYM program is a premier study abroad program," said Jennifer Hasenfus, international student advisor and director of study abroad programs. "It's America's oldest study abroad program in Germany."

Hasenfus, like Professor Ward, is a strong advocate of studying abroad and feels that students aren't fully aware of the opportunities that are out there.

"I'm looking to internationalize the campus," said Hasenfus. "I would like to double the number of students studying abroad during the fall; I already have about 20 inquiring."

St-Cyr exchange students on the NU campusOne of those students looking to travel overseas is Tyler Piolunek, 20, a business management major from East Hartford, CT. "Last year I went to Germany for spring break, and now I can't wait to go back," said Piolunek.

To many, studying overseas seems like an exotic dream that only the well-off can afford. Few realize that when a student is utilizing an American school for study abroad, they are normally able to retain the government financial aid they were already receiving.

"The fact that I could travel, and not be confined to the Northeast for school, is what really got me interested," said Piolunek. "It's given me a better understanding of people, and that we are all the same, but just do things differently."

This past fall, eight Norwich students studied abroad. The fact that there aren't more students involved with these programs troubles Hasenfus, and she is currently working on a new brochure informing students of the multitude of programs available to them.

"It is such a growing experience," said Hasenfus. "You really learn about yourself through learning about others."

dweggler@norwich.edu, January 2004

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