Marymount Representatives Explain Successful Global Classroom Series

The reason Marymount University’s Global Classroom series has been so successful, said Marymount’s study abroad coordinator Carin Usrey, is that the embedded program is tailored to the needs of students.

“We have a lot of commuters on campus and students who work,” said Usrey,. “The Global Classroom is very welcoming and accommodates their needs and schedules.”

Victor Betancourt, the Center for Global Education’s executive director, Sarah LaRosa, coordinator for global engagement, senior Theodore “TJ” Berry and Usrey discussed the embedded program at the Council on International Education Exchange’s Annual Conference (CIEE) in Baltimore on Nov 20.

The affordable international trips are typically a week long over spring break as part of a spring semester class and often lead to students getting involved in longer study abroad opportunities. The group also shared tips and lessons learned from the program in a talk entitled “Building the Foundation of Globally Engaged Citizens: The Benefits of One-week Embedded Global Education Programs.”

“It’s been running here since 2012 and each year participation has increased,” Usrey said. “Many of the students have never been out of the country or on a plane before.”

Last spring, 107 students took courses that included fashion in Paris, interior design in Sicily, entrepreneurship in Estonia, theology in Rome and sociology in Amsterdam. This year, 125 students will choose from six offerings: politics in Korea, fashion in London, literature in Spain, entrepreneurship in the Netherlands, IT in Estonia & Finland and health promotion in Northern Ireland. For a third of the 123 participants, it will be their first time traveling abroad.

“They have the opportunity to see the relevance of applying their coursework in a global context,” Usrey said. “They can also see themselves as global citizens and gain greater confidence about themselves.”

Faculty are able to engage in their research interests, she added. Students, faculty and staff strengthen their relationships. And the trips also provide a greater appreciation for diversity and cultural sensitivity when students learn first-hand what it’s like to be a foreigner in another country.
Berry has traveled to Rome, India, Spain and the Netherlands as part of the Global Classroom. The Vineland, N.J., native also spent six weeks this summer doing an internship in Norway.

“There’s an opportunity at Marymount for anyone to study abroad,” said Berry, who is paying for his own education through scholarships and working.

Cost for this spring’s trips is $1,100 and includes all transportation and accommodations.