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Greatness Recognized

Publication tabs study abroad in South Africa as one of nation’s top programs.

We’ve always known the Office of Study Abroad is a major part of what makes Eastern Illinois University the top-notch institution it is, so it’s no surprise to learn a well-known online publication recently recognized a particular EIU study abroad program as one of the best this country has to offer.

Best College Reviews has released its rankings of the 50 best study abroad programs in America and placed Eastern at No. 14 on the listing thanks to Family and Consumer Science’s semester-long trip to South Africa, a program co-coordinated by Drs. Frances Murphy and Dagni Bredesen that EIU 360 first highlighted two years ago.

Here’s what the article had to say about EIU:

Experience the world through Eastern Illinois University’s vast number of study abroad programs. Along with partner programs and third party programs, the University offers various faculty-led programs for students looking for a personal experience alongside trusted and expert faculty. Students have the opportunity to spend a semester in South Africa working in human services. Visiting cultural and historical locations, listening to guest speakers, and touring scenic locations are also part of the curriculum. Exciting weekend activities in the area include shark diving, sky diving, and bungee jumping.

Dr. Kurt Olausen, director of the Office of Study Abroad, also has high praise for the program.

"The strength of a program like this is that it offers students the opportunity to learn about another culture, their academic discipline in that culture, and get hands-on experience through an internship in their field," said Olausen. "Dr. Murphy is passionate about what she does and participants are extremely lucky to have her as their leader on this program."

Dr. Murphy and Dr. Bredesen provided their own explanation of the program and its benefits:

"The semester-long program in South Africa for graduate and undergraduate students in Family and Consumer Sciences gives an international experience that integrates hands-on internships in schools and community centers with courses in their programs, a combination that moves students seamlessly toward graduation.

During their four week orientation in Cape Town--one of the most beautiful cities in the world--students experience on-site learning in which they study the history that has shaped this nation while visiting the places where the events that led towards democracy took place.

To give some examples, after reading Nelson Mandela's memoir Long Walk to Freedom students then visit Robben Island, where he was incarcerated for eighteen years; after studying the constitution, we then attend a session of Parliament.

Out of the classroom and into the world, we enjoy the beautiful vistas seen from on top of Table Mountain and visit a Penguin colony. From Cape Town, students move to their internships: first to Port Elizabeth and a month later, further north the shores of the Wild Coast.

In the process of their orientation and two internships, students experience urban and rural communities, while building friendships with local South Africans. The program ends with a safari at Kruger National Park. Past student participants have described this program as "transformative" and a "once in a lifetime opportunity."

Topping the Best College Reviews listing is the University of Evansville’s program at Harlaxton College in England; this is notable because EIU offers its own study abroad experience at Harlaxton.

While the South Africa program is obviously excellent, it’s just one of the dozens of fantastic study abroad opportunities you can take advantage of as an EIU student. The Office of Study Abroad features a searchable database of its available programs and also compiles a listing of student blogs so you can get a first-person glimpse into the study abroad experience.

And if you need any more convincing, check out this video capturing the beauty of Communication Studies’ trip to Australia and New Zealand:

To learn more about all the overseas opportunities available at EIU, visit the Office of Study Abroad website today!

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