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IU Northwest gearing up for summer study-abroad program

Students can earn credits in international business or Spanish studies while experiencing culture in Spain


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Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications
981-4358
erikrose@iun.edu

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University Studies Abroad Consortium

IU Northwest International Business and Spanish Studies Program

Students at Indiana University Northwest have an opportunity to experience life and culture in Spain this summer while earning credit for their studies at the same time.

A three-week study-abroad opportunity to Bilbao, Spain, from July 1 to 20, is ideal for students who are studying international business or pursuing a bilingual career. There is an optional four-day tour in Madrid, Spain that departs June 26.

A wide selection of courses taught in both Spanish and English are available, with up to four credits awarded in the areas of International Business and Spanish language and Cultural Studies. Courses are taught at the University of the Basque Country.

Professor of Spanish Eva Mendieta, Ph.D., said the Department of Modern Languages is proud to offer a study-abroad program that is both affordable and of a reasonable duration for IU Northwest students, many of whom have family and work obligations and may not be able to commit to an entire year or semester abroad. IU Northwest provides grants every year to students traveling abroad.

Mendieta said that many universities are considering making studying abroad a requirement for their graduates.

“It really seems that in our world today, having the opportunity to travel and learn in a foreign setting is a necessity for a well-rounded education,” she said.

Mendieta said that seeing the positive impact of this program on students has been tremendously rewarding.

“Students return home happy and inspired. They had a wonderful time in Spain, they learned Spanish, business and art history at a Spanish university, and they experienced firsthand another culture, with its different routines and values,” Mendieta said. “This awareness makes them reflect on their own lives, and on new and exciting possibilities.”

Brian Busch of Chesterton made the trip in the summer of 2009 when he was a junior majoring in Spanish. He said that being immersed in a Spanish-speaking culture was beneficial to his learning process but also enlightened him about the human condition.

“People love to communicate no matter what barriers exist and being in situations where you are relying on other people who don't speak your language really gives you a better appreciation for how good people can be,” he said.

Busch recommends this program not just for the benefit of bettering one’s Spanish skills but also for cultural awareness.

“I would recommend this trip to anyone who is slightly more adventurous with even just a slight knowledge of Spanish, just for the opportunity to really gain a better understanding of the Basque people, culturally speaking,” Busch said. “The Basque culture is unique and friendly, and the differences in our respective cultures, no matter how small, were a revelation to me, and have made a huge impact on my life.”

While in Spain, Busch attended mostly speech classes and a grammar class at the 400 level. Much of his education, however, came from “trying to make do and interact” on the streets of Bilbao.

“This trip is more about cultural enrichment,” Busch said. “It will shape the way people view their own cultures as well as give them a better appreciation of other people’s cultures.”

Mendieta said that Bilbao, as a destination, is about as good as it gets.

 “The city has all the services and life you would expect of an urban center, but because of its mid-size, it does not feel threatening or overwhelming,” she said. “It has a fantastic public transportation system; it ranked sixth in Europe last year in terms of public safety; and it has the history, art, and culture of a world-class city. Students always comment of the warmth and friendliness of the people as well. And the food is the best in Spain!”

Scholarships, grants and loans are available and student financial aid is accepted. The deadline to apply is May 1.

For more information, contact Eva Mendieta, Ph.D. at (219) 980-6692 or emendiet@iun.edu. Or, visit www.iun.edu/~abroadnw.