The Office of Science Engagement works with students, employers, faculty, and staff to connect students with learning opportunities outside the classroom. A strong component of this is the Study Abroad program, open to all students in any college at University Park. The STEM study abroad opportunities are particularly valuable. Efforts like the Study Abroad program offered by the Office of Science Engagement support the college’s belief that a student who engages thoroughly at Penn State is more likely to graduate.
“We know that students who engage in high-impact co-curricular experiences—like study abroad—are more successful; have higher retention rates, shorter time to degree, and higher GPAs; and are more likely to be successful when applying to graduate programs and jobs,” said Tomalei Vess, director of engagement at the Eberly College of Science.
From January 2017 through August 2018, the Eberly College of Science saw 208 students studying in 33 countries and Puerto Rico. Students have access to a variety of opportunities abroad—ranging from full-semester and one-to-five-week faculty-led programs to embedded programs with no additional tuition cost, in which students go abroad over a break.
“Students can take courses in other countries that count toward graduation requirements. They can also do internships or engage in research while enhancing their learning and professional development in an international context,” said Vess, who added that “the college and the University have a variety of options to help students pay for experiences abroad. We are working to increase awareness of this funding and how these opportunities fit with the context of science and the student’s career goals.”
The Eberly College of Science supports increasing the accessibility and affordability of study abroad for all interested undergraduate students incorporating international experience into their undergraduate degree. The Office of Science Engagement administers the Global Experiences Scholarship to qualified students participating in Penn State study abroad programs. Award amounts vary based on scholarship availability, scholarship requirements, and program details. The minimum award amount is $250, and the average award amount is $1,000.