Albion Students Find Benefits from Off-Campus Experiences

The map on the third floor of Vulgamore shows where current Albion students are studying abroad. There are postcards from around the world surrounding the map. Pictures of students in different cities around the world are also posted on the board (Photo by Taylor Dietz).

Albion College offers over 100 global learning options both abroad and in the states through the Center for International Education (CIE). More than 50 Albion students study off-campus each year.

Some students, including those majoring in a language or international studies, are required to study abroad. The opportunity to study abroad or off-campus, however, is available to all interested students during their time at Albion. Classes abroad can be taught in English or any preferred language of instruction.

This year, like previous years, Albion College students have travelled all over the world, including  Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. 

Students studying abroad and off campus get to experience life away from Albion. Seniors and graduates reflected on their study abroad and off-campus experiences and would say it will benefit them in the future. 

Katie Warren, a senior from Kalamazoo, Mich., studied in Aix-en-Provence, France. She took classes at the Institute for American Universities. 

“The program offered various classes, but I took mainly business classes. I also was a student in their art school,” said Warren. “I decided to take these classes because they aligned with both my majors and counted for Albion credit.”

Through the program, Warren also had the opportunity to take French food and wine classes, something not every student at Albion has the chance to experience. She explained the differences she noticed in the culture of Europe compared to the United States. 

“We do things a lot faster in the US. Everyone rushes through everything and in Europe they take a lot of time to relax and enjoy the moment,” said Warren.

She elaborated on her experience, saying that it was a lot of fun and that it would absolutely benefit her after graduation. 

“Study abroad helped me branch out of my comfort zone and gave me connections across the country and world,” said Warren.

Another unique opportunity offered through Albion is the American Junior Year in Heidelberg program. 

 The University of Heidelberg is the oldest university in Germany, and the American Junior Year program is the oldest exchange program of its kind. The program gives participating students an “authentic German experience”. 

Jayson Bard, a 2019 Albion College graduate from Mason, Mich., studied in Heidelberg, Germany during his fall semester of senior year.

Through the program, Bard studied abroad as a requirement for his major and to enhance his German skills.  

“Conversations were smoother,” said Bard. “I was able to challenge myself with reading and avoiding dictionaries as well as not being afraid to make mistakes verbally.”

Classes at Heidelberg University were much different than those at Albion. Bard took classes in German where he had no choice but to speak the language.

“There was no assigned homework, and the classes are about two to four hours long but only once or twice a week,” said Bard. “Attendance was different. If you missed more than three classes, you automatically failed. Two or three tests are your grade factors.”

As a graduate, Bard explained that his experience from study abroad helped him further his career after Albion. 

“There are more opportunities being bilingual. There are more networking opportunities since I traveled and met with a lot of people and kept in contact,” said Bard.

Besides studying in Germany, Bard had the chance to travel around Europe in his free time.

“Traveling is super cheap there,” said Bard. “The program there pays for a semester pass that you can take all around Germany. So, leaving from cheaper parts of Germany is easy for travel. You have time to travel because classes are short. I went to Greenland, Iceland, Austria and France. People in my program also went to Rome, Scotland and Italy.”

In addition to international opportunities, Albion also offers options for off-campus study in the United States. The Philadelphia Center (TPC) is a popular destination for students at Albion. TPC is open to all majors and has different internships and classes tailored to particular areas of study.

The program gives students a unique experience at urban life in a professional and academic setting. Students who decide to go to TPC are required to have an internship. They have the experience of going through interview processes in their relative area of study.

Riley Burnette, a senior from Livonia, Mich., is currently at TPC. She is a double major in psychology and communications.

“I think that this program has more of a prep for the real world or life after college benefit to it, as you have an internship in which you go through the interview process, which is a great experience,” said Burnette. “I think I will definitely be more prepared for the real world and the idea of work, life, and school balance. I think I’ll be more appreciative of my everyday experiences and their value.”

Classes at TPC are different from Albion. Burnette explained that students enrolled in TPC must take both a seminar and an elective, both of which are not lecture based like classes at Albion.

“It is interactive, and the seminars are mostly guided by the students,” said Burnette. “They are also based on experiential learning, so they are hands on and involved. For example, in my marketing elective, we are creating an actual marketing plan for a business as a group.”

Philadelphia is a big city, allowing students the opportunity to explore different parts of a city that differs drastically from Albion.  

“There is so much to do. I am always on the go but in a good way,”said Burnette. “I have access to things I want to do, and I am enjoying life so much more.”

Studyabroad101.com has reviews from Albion college students on their experiences during their time away from the college.

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