Enjoy our informal Q&A with Andrew Sobiesuo, associate provost for international education of the College’s Center for International Education. Sobiesuo’s leadership inspired more than 600 students to study abroad this year and explore more than 25 countries across the globe.
A: The Center for International Education was established in 1996 as a central location for the College’s study abroad opportunities. When I came to the College in 1990, there were 2-3 study abroad programs. Today, there are more than 31 programs. We offer three types of study abroad options for students:
1) Semester or summer abroad programs. This year we have expanded semester abroad from 5 programs to 7 programs. We have added Buenos Aires, Argentina for political science concentration. And we have added Trujillo, Spain with a communications/political science study concentration. Students pay regular tuition and a program fee. Students can earn 12-15 credit hours. There are more than 25 summer abroad programs led by College of Charleston faculty who organize and teach courses abroad. Notable programs include Morocco for political science and French concentration and Peru for biology and tropical ecology concentration.
Last summer, we outfitted several of our students with Flip video cameras to document their experiences. You can enjoy the students’ video library HERE.
2) Exchange programs. The College has exchange agreements with more than 25 universities or academic institutions abroad. Participants are enrolled as regular students but pay tuition to the College of Charleston. Opportunitites include University of Nottingham (Ningbo) in China and University of La Rochelle in France.
3. Independent Study. Students can participate in an independent program with another U.S. university or third-party provider. Options include Semester at Sea or the School of Field Studies. The Center for International Education helps students coordinate these programs.
Q: What are you most excited about what’s happening in the Center of International Education these days?
A: I am excited about our expanding partnerships with semester and summer abroad programs. The College is only one of a handful of colleges or universities that offer a semester abroad program in Havana, Cuba or a summer abroad program in Cambodia with a political science, social change and NGO activism concentration. Due to the political unrest in Egypt, we recently had to pull our summer abroad program, but we hope to return next summer.
I am also optimistic about our international education program and recruiting more international students to our campus.
Q: What is the value of international study to students?
A: I am a product of international education. I was born in Ghana and received my B.A. (Hons) from the University of Ghana, and a Diploma in Spanish Language and Culture from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. I went on to complete my M.A. and Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies at The Ohio State University.
International experiences helps a student mature and grow. Students are able to see the world through another lens and it is eye-opening for them. I get the most satisfaction from sitting down with students after they have returned from a semester or summer abroad and I can see how much they have developed. We are helping to make more informed and diverse citizens in this world, and that is very rewarding.
Also, companies are looking for graduates with international experience, but more importantly, companies want to see how students are able to apply the knowledge they gained overseas on the job.
Q: Is there one piece of advice you share with your students?
A: We are all part of the human race. No one is an island. The more we understand each other, the better we will get along in this world.
Q: What is one thing that would surprise students and parents about study abroad programs at the College?
A: We offer quite a bit of scholarship and financial aid assistance to students so they can travel abroad. I would encourage parents and students to come talk with us if they are interested in learning more about our programs and available financial assistance.
For more information about study abroad opportunities, click HERE.