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.
Currently 16 options exist for study abroad, each of which consists of at least one month/4 weeks of study.
Dr. 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.
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.
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:
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.
The Project Supervisor indicated on the application will depend on which option the student chooses:
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.
*Students desiring to appeal the evaluation of a Study Abroad PRE must follow the normal grade appeal process