BY MORGAN KING – COPY CHIEF
At Centre, you have the option to participate in a variety of different semester study abroad programs all around the world—from Mérida, Mexico, Strasbourg, France, and even to Yamaguchi, Japan. Yet, even with these options and more, Centre understands there is a whole world to explore, and they are willing to help you explore it.
Next spring, Centre will be sending two students to participate in an immersive study abroad program with University of Regensburg, in Germany. The program is through Kentucky Institute for Study Abroad (KIIS), a consortium of colleges and universities dedicated to making the international experience available to the widest range of participants at a low-budget cost.
University of Regensburg has nearly 15,000 enrolled students, and is situated on an American style campus. An hour and a half from Munich, the students at the university are able to get the full German cultural experience.
Centre students have been involved in the Regensburg program previously; however, in order to participate most students had to take a leave of absence due to program dates and course requirements. Any student at Centre is allowed to take a leave of absence for a study abroad program other than Centre’s, but by doing so they are ineligible to receive federal, state, or scholarship aid for that semester. This makes the process daunting to most students.
Now for the Regensburg program, students do not need to take a leave of absence, according to Leigh Cocanougher, Assistant Director for the Center for Global Citizenship.
“Students participating in the Regensburg program used to take a leave of absence, but not any more,” said Cocanougher. “We are working with KIIS in a special way so they do not have to do that.”
The Regensburg program is a similar immersive experience to Centre’s Glasgow and Reading programs. But since the program is run through KIIS, Centre students will be able to broaden their experience with students from around Kentucky instead of a group of Centre students.
“It is kind of like the students who go to Reading or Glasgow,” said Cocanougher, “but it is not quite as intensive because you are with a group of students mostly from Kentucky who go, so you have a core group of people. They will have pre-departure meetings with this group, so you will really get to know them before you go.”
Sophomore Alex Cody will be participating in the Regensburg program next spring. For Cody, spending a semester learning German was an opportunity she did not want to miss.
“I’m very much looking forward to speaking and being surrounded by the German language and culture every day,” she said. “I also appreciate that I’ll be studying at the University of Regensburg, where I’ll be taking classes in German, rather than the classes that are taught in English in Strasbourg.”
Many students studying German do participate in the Centre-in-Strasbourg program and stay at German-speaking homestays. Yet, Strasbourg is still in a French speaking country, so there are limitations on hearing German outside of the homestay. For those students interested in expanding their German, the Regensburg program may be a better fit.
“There are a lot of German speakers in Strasbourg, but it is mostly French-speaking.” Cocanougher said. “You are surrounded by German in Regensburg. You take classes that are in German. It is a different experience when hearing German in a classroom, in a store, and in theaters and cafes. It is very immersive, which is what some of our students are looking for.”
Given the nature of the program, prior experience in German is a must. Students must have nine hours of college-level German or the equivalent as well as sophomore standing by the start of the program. Along with the prior coursework, Regensburg program participants will arrive before university classes begin for an intensive four-week language course.
First-year Alexis Becker will be traveling to the University of Regensburg alongside Cody. She says the German language development sparked her interest in the program.
“I’m hoping to become fluent in German from this program,” she said. “You learn German by getting lost and having to ask for directions or meeting people in parks. Plus, they have an intensive German class at the beginning of the semester, so I think it would be really useful to hear about the language concepts and then see them in action.”
If you are interested in pursuing a study abroad program that is immersive, Centre’s partnership with KIIS for Regensburg program may be the option for you!