Interest growing in foreign study

Enrollment for the study abroad program has increased 28.7 percent, from 109 students in 2002 to 153 students in 2004.

Currently, there are five students studying abroad under programs sponsored by Florida A&M University.

The most popular countries for studying abroad include Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France, England, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic where FAMU’s signature program is located.

“Summer is our highest time,” said Karen Mitchell, education abroad coordinator for the Office of International Education and Development at FAMU.

“Enrollment will go up in the spring to about 30 students and this spring is the first time that the School of Business and Industry will have a faculty-led research program.”

While abroad, students participate in various activities such as visiting museums, attending cultural events, working with the underprivileged, learning the native language and teaching English.

Avery Brewton, 22, a senior from Jacksonville, studied during the spring 2005 semester in Kenya, East Africa, through the School of International Training in a program focused on international development, public health, policy and Kenyan culture.

“The volunteer work at the orphanages, with the community based organizations and non-profits in general, was my most rewarding experience simply because I loved the hands-on factor of being in the field,” said Brewton, a political science and economic development student.

“You get to know and understand first hand the plight of the people that you are working to help. I loved working with the children and hearing their stories.”

On the other hand Brewton said, “At times it was heartbreaking to know and see people suffering so much.”

Reggie McNair, 23, studied for four months in San Jose, Costa Rica, through the Miami-Dade College program via FAMU’s OIED.

“When I was in Costa Rica, I knew that I was in for an experience of a lifetime, and that I needed to make the most out of my time there,” said McNair, a senior business administration student from Houston. “I attended Universidad Veritas, where I took four classes all in Spanish.

In my program and at school, I met some of the most intelligent, influential people from all over the world. We went on many trips and tours together in San Jose and many other cities.”

McNair said he enjoyed the Costa Rican scenary.

“Some of the trips were canopy tours, white water rafting and site seeing.

Costa Rica has some of the most amazing sites and beaches I have ever seen,” he said.

Students can choose from study abroad programs, short-term faculty-led study, international research and exchange programs, international internships and service learning projects.

The enrollment process includes going to the OIED, ensuring the program is accredited, ensuring the country is endorsed by the U.S. State Department and researching scholarships to help cover the costs.

Many scholarships such as the Florida Bright Futures scholarship can be used to lower the costs of studying abroad.

Other financial aid programs have paid in the past, but many students still take out a loan, Mitchell said.

“The program fees range anywhere from about $4,000 to $15,000 depending on the semester and the program the student chooses,” Mitchell said. “Spring in-service is usually about $1,000 to $1,500.”

For some students cost is a big determining factor in whether they participate in studying abroad.

Thaddeus Payton, 20, a junior international agricultural business and French student from Mitchellville, Md., thinks that students should take advantage of the opportunities regardless of cost.

“The study abroad program is good, and I don’t think enough people take advantage of it. I think a lot of students are oblivious to the fact that there is a lot of stuff outside the everyday life of FAMU

But there is so much more out there that can develop us as people, and we don’t take advantage of a valuable resource in the program.”

“We need more students in order to make the world better,” Mitchell said.

FAMU offers study abroad programs in the fall, spring and summer semesters with programs ranging from two weeks to four months. The deadline for spring applications is Nov. 30. Summer applications are due April 15 and fall applications are due July 15.

For more information go to the OIED in the Perry-Paige building.

Contact Katie Blasewitz at