PREX 402

Professional Readiness Study Abroad Experience

Study abroad is the term given to a program conducted through Gardner-Webb University which allows a student to live in a foreign country and attend a foreign university.

In most cases, two universities have an arrangement which allows them to exchange students (hence the term ‘exchange student’) so that these students can learn about a foreign culture (and language), and broaden their horizons. The program usually grants credit for courses taken at the foreign institution and some also arrange for a work-study or internship agreement.

Study abroad programs come in different shapes and sizes. The typical program of which one thinks allows a student to spend a semester studying abroad, but some programs run for multiple semesters. Some are geared solely around studying and attending a foreign university, while others can include internships or volunteer experiences. Programs also vary in how the student is supported, with some having a ‘host family’ situation, whereby exchange students can live with a local family. Other programs simply provide a dorm or apartment for the student.

What This PRE Looks For

  • The experience abroad must consist of at least one month in the foreign country
  • Student must hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher and have no evidence of disciplinary action in student file. (Note: 3.0 GPA is standard, but for World Languages students attending a summer language program, a GPA of at least 2.0 is acceptable.)
  • The language placement testing should apply to any returning student who wishes to continue his/her studies of a foreign language, no matter whether this is part of a major, a minor, or no specific concentration.
  • Must satisfactorily complete Professional Development unit and submit to Project Supervisor of the experience (see attached)
  • If GWU credit is to be obtained in a foreign language, the PRE is approved by the GWU Department of World Languages and Cultures

Possible Study Abroad Opportunities

Currently 16 options exist for study abroad, each of which consists of at least one month/4 weeks of study.

  • The Bonner Program is guided by a GWU professor in a foreign country and on a topic of professor’s choice that is proposed annually. Students earn 3-6 credit hours. The Program consists of two components:
    • Five-to-six-week summer course
    • Spring break course

Frank and Flossie BonnerDr. Frank Bonner served at Gardner-Webb University for more than 30 years, the last 14 as the University’s twelfth president. During his tenure, he and his wife Flossie were champions of the summer study abroad program. Along with Dr. Helen Tichenor, the Bonners grew the program to include opportunities in England, Germany and Italy. They firmly believe that the study abroad is an experience of such educational and personal value that it is imperative for a truly comprehensive and solid college experience. Dreaming such an experience will one day be a degree requirement, the Bonners have provided substantial financial support and want to continue their support of what began as the Bonner Study Abroad Project, a five-to-six-week experience abroad, led and taught by a faculty member who had developed the instructional experience grounded in the particular location abroad. Student recipients are selected based on their potential to benefit from the study abroad experience and academic merit.

  • Study at 12 GWU – approved partner schools in countries such as Austria, Greece, Germany, Spain and Ghana, consisting of a semester’s study at one of the institutions. Students earn 12-18 credit hours.
  • Study Spanish in Costa Rica or Leon, Spain for 4 weeks through the GWU Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures – SPAN 311, 312, students earn 6 credit hours.
  • Study French in Trois Rivieres, Quebec or Strasbourg, France for 4 weeks through the GWU Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures – FREN 311, 312, students earn 6 credit hours.

Participation in short or long-term mission trips will not fit into this definition. Experiences abroad arranged by students on their own, with no prior awareness on the part of university-appointed project supervisors, will not meet this requirement.

What Students Will Learn

The Project Supervisor and student will develop student learning outcomes specific to the PRE, prior to the experience.

General learning areas to which this experience will contribute are:

  • Becoming more globally literate, informed about the world and culturally aware
  • Increasing foreign language skills
  • Increasing a willingness to learn
  • Empowering students to understand themselves and others through comparison of cultural values, different worldviews and ways of life
  • Increasing personal independence through curiosity and exploration in another country
  • Exploring and understanding “difficult differences” such as racial, ethnic, gender inequality, human rights, freedom, power and economies
  • Strengthening ability to adapt to diverse situations
  • Strengthening ability to problem-solve

Process For Completing A PRE Study Abroad Experience

Step 1: Project Initiation

Students are responsible for initiating study abroad, either by enrolling in a course in the GWU Department of World Languages, or by expressing interest to and meeting with the GWU Director of International Programs. The experience must be approved by the GWU Office of International Programs.

Step 2: Complete The PRE Student Application

The Project Supervisor indicated on the application will depend on which option the student chooses:

  • Study Abroad with partner schools: GWU Director of International Programs
  • Course in GWU World Languages Department: Professor of course
  • Bonner Project: Professor of course traveling with students

Step 3: Assessment

Students will complete a Professional Development Unit which consists of 3 parts: Pre-departure, On-site and Re-entry. This unit will help students develop and reflect on things such as personal goals for study abroad, learning about their own and another culture, and transferrable skills and how they relate to professional goals.

Assessment for these PRE courses will be in the form of a letter grade earned by the student for the successful

completion of the course. For GWU courses, the grade will appear on the student’s GWU transcript. For those students who study abroad at a partner university, they will be responsible for obtaining a transcript from the university and submitting to the GWU Director of International Programs.

For students enrolled in the GWU World Languages study abroad courses, language assessment/placement testing should apply to any returning student who wishes to continue his/her studies of a foreign language, no matter whether this is part of a major, a minor, or no specific concentration.

Step 4: Evaluation And Follow-Up

*Students desiring to appeal the evaluation of a Study Abroad PRE must follow the normal grade appeal process

  • At completion of study abroad, student must provide a transcript from the host institution, given to GWU Office of International Programs or GWU Department of World Languages and Cultures