by Nikole Gianopoulos

The University of West Georgia has three new opportunities for students to spend a semester abroad while earning credit towards their UWG degrees. This fall, the institution signed exchange agreements with universities in the Netherlands, Ireland, and Australia that will provide students in a variety of disciplines the chance to gain global experience while customizing their degree programs.

UWG Announces New Additions to Study Abroad Program Exchange programs allow students from UWG to study with a partner school in another country for a semester or a year. In turn, students from the partner school come here to study. UWG thus benefits in two ways: by giving its students the opportunity to gain new cultural and academic experiences abroad and by having the campus culture enriched by the presence of students from its partner campus.

The first new study abroad location is University of Groningen in Groningen, Netherlands. UWG’s partnership is with the faculty of behavioral and social sciences, and the exchange program is open to students in psychology and sociology. UG was founded in 1614, and both the university and the psychology program rank in the QS Top 100. Groningen is a picturesque, bicycle-friendly town about two hours from Amsterdam by train.

“The psychology department is excited about the opportunity to participate in this partnership with the University of Groningen,” said Chair of Psychology Dr. Don Rice. “Study abroad programs are an essential part of a student's education, and the Groningen program offers the perfect environment for a student's first experience abroad.”

While on exchange UWG students pay the same tuition and fees they would pay if they were studying on campus. They pay their living expenses at the host site. International Services and Programs works with the student and his or her advisor to assign credit for courses taken abroad and to make sure that the classes a student is taking will fit within his or her degree plan. Students may use their financial aid to support participation in an exchange program, and the university also has scholarship funding that is specifically available to students studying on exchange. Exchanges are generally open to students in their junior or senior years.

The second new study abroad location is Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland. UWG’s partnership is with the School of Humanities, which includes a broad range of arts, humanities, and social sciences programs. Waterford, the home of Waterford crystal, was originally a Viking settlement and has a historic town center. It is about two hours by train from Dublin. Like UWG, WIT is dedicated to involvement in its local region. In addition to student exchange, faculty collaborations and developing short-term study abroad programs with WIT may be a possibility in the near future.

Director for International Services and Programs Dr. Maria Doyle said, “Several UWG students have been to WIT through the European Council’s summer program in Waterford, and I’m very excited that we’ll now be able to extend the opportunity that they found so enriching to students who want to spend a full semester abroad.”

Students who study abroad develop skills that future employers like to see, so study abroad helps to make them more marketable after they graduate. Study abroad students will show that they have the ability to adapt to new situations and environments and that they have the initiative to go the extra mile to make their education more meaningful.

The third new study abroad location is University of New England in Armidale, Australia. This opportunity is open to students across disciplines in humanities, social sciences, arts, and sciences. Armidale is in New South Wales, located between Sydney and Brisbane. UNE received a five-star ranking from Hobson’s Good Universities Guide, which rates university programs across Australia. Like UWG, UNE was founded to serve the rural community, and it has grown to become an important regional research center.

“Our partnerships with UNE, WIT, and UG will allow us to extend important new opportunities for academic and cultural enrichment to our students in a range of disciplines,” Dr. Doyle concluded. “Moreover, establishing these new partnerships with like-minded and dynamic campuses is an important means of fulfilling one of the central goals of UWG’s strategic plan: that we create ‘engaged, mutually beneficial collaborations.’”

For more information on UWG study abroad, please visit studyabroad.westga.edu.

Posted on January 5, 2015