There’s no doubt that Edge Hill University’s study abroad programme can be a life-changing experience for many, but how can this best be portrayed to those thinking of taking part?
Well, listening to the experiences of those who have been there and done it, and whose lives have changed, is certainly one good way, and for the past five years Jason Keeling has been doing just that in his role as North America study abroad adviser/recruiter.
“I studied abroad at Edge Hill in the fall semester of 2002 and spring semester of 2003 and, after I’d graduated from the University of Findlay in 2004, Edge Hill happened to contact all the alumni study abroad students about the possibility of a job posting for a US study abroad adviser,” explains Jason.
“They wanted a former student who had taken part in the programme to advise and recruit university students to Edge Hill and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity for me because studying abroad changed my life and I would be in a great position to influence others to do the same.”
Jason’s job involves him recruiting American students to study at Edge Hill for one semester or a full academic year, as part of their own academic studies. Once the students have applied to study at Edge Hill, Jason is then in the ideal position to help them prepare for their experience. He also acts as the contact for all advisers and professors in the US who work with Edge Hill University and liaises between institutions in both countries to build and maintain strong partnerships between them.
“It’s a great job as I get to tell students how much the experience meant to me and then encourage them to experience what I already have. I get to meet them before they go and once they return, and it is amazing to see the changes in each one and how much more confident they become as people. When students study abroad they are not only learning about different cultures and customs, but also learning a great deal about themselves too.”
“The study abroad programme offers an opportunity to live in and experience a foreign country while earning full semester credits at their home university. But students also get to travel around great countries such as the UK and others in Europe, as well as make friendships that will last a lifetime. That, and the memories they will keep, really is priceless.”
Jason has just returned to the USA after helping students in the autumn enrolment settle in, a cohort that for the first time this year has included students from Korea.
This development has occurred thanks to the contacts of Jinok Lee, a Korean member of the international team at Edge Hill, who made contact with a number of institutions in her home country. Duksung Women’s University was the first to respond positively and 10 students are now beginning their placement at the Ormskirk Campus. It is hoped that this will lead to further collaboration over the coming years, both with Duksung and other universities.
To this end, Jinok and Jennifer Sloan, Head of International Student Recruitment, will be travelling to South Korea at the end of October to participate in the British Council’s two-day exhibition, hold meetings with other potential partner universities and explore further study abroad opportunities such as 2+2/1+2 schemes, where students study for one or two years in Korea and then for two more at Edge Hill.
The study abroad programme for Korean students is much the same as for their peers coming from America and other countries, except that English Language teaching is provided too, to support the students’ transition to studying in English.
For more information about the study abroad programme, visit: edgehill.ac.uk/international/studyabroad