Although for many it may be far too early to start seriously planning out the summer of 2019, the Lewis College of Human Sciences has already been advertising some very unique opportunities for interested Illinois Tech students: faculty-led study abroad opportunities. More specifically, the department is offering Illinois Tech students the opportunity to knock out their Interprofessional Project (IPRO) or 300s-level social science requirements with a study abroad semester in either Osaka, Japan or Glasgow, Scotland.
The opportunity to study abroad in Osaka, Japan would allow students to take either SSCI 395/385 (Global Cities: Osaka) or IPRO 497 (Tsunami Disaster Prevention) with Illinois Tech faculty at Osaka City University. Associate Chair of the Department of Social Sciences Rebecca Steffenson, the lead faculty member of this study abroad opportunity, told TechNews that this opportunity will see “students have regular social and academic interactions with Japanese students,” as the program involves direct attendance and interaction with Osaka City University. The semester would also involve day trips to areas in the wider Kansai region of Japan, including Kyoto, Kobe, Himeji, Nara, and Mt. Koyasan, with the capital city of Tokyo also being three hours away by bullet train.
An Illinois Tech student that was a part of a prior study abroad semester in Osaka with Steffenson, Ann Engebretson, gave the advice that students on this trip should be willing to go “out on excursions. Look at a travel guide and do some of that stuff. You're only here for a month, get the most out of it. If I came back from a month in Japan and all I could say was I stuck to the program schedule, I wouldn't feel like I've really...pushed myself to be in that country, to experience it. You find random things when you begin to just wander. And you won't get lost if you have Google maps. You can also ask for directions, So if you go, go to your classes and go on the excursions, but also just go out and look around.”
Similarly, the opportunity in Glasgow, Scotland, is also led by Steffenson and gives students the opportunity to complete either SSCI 286/385 (Scottish Politics and Society) or COM 301 (Introduction to Linguistics). Steffenson described this trip as a “great option for students who love the outdoors.” In addition to completing coursework on the University of Glasgow campus, students also get the opportunity to “do a fair bit of walking on the West Highland Way” and even “visit several ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ filming locations.”
An important note to make about these study abroad semesters is that they are unique opportunities to combine core Illinois Tech classwork with international explorations and chances to immerse oneself in another culture. Many Illinois Tech scholarships apply to the tuition rates, and these trips can oftentimes become much more affordable than one may originally imagine. If nothing else, it’s at least worth an inquiry, and Steffenson can be reached via email at [email protected] anytime with questions about these trips.