The College of Human Sciences will offer new study abroad programs this summer in Denmark, Taiwan and Japan, the Czech Republic (pictured), and western Europe.

New overseas programs to help students engage in high-impact learning

Students in the College of Human Sciences will have four additional opportunities to study abroad next summer.

Apparel, events, and hospitality management will offer two programs: one in Taiwan and Japan, and another in the Czech Republic. Human development and family studies will offer a program in Denmark, and the School of Education faculty will offer a program in western Europe.

The new programs will provide students across various majors with high-impact learning experiences, identified in Iowa State University’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan as opportunities that “prepare students for lives in a dynamic, global community.” Students can apply online to any of the College of Human Sciences study abroad programs. The deadline for applications is Dec. 1.

“Short-term faculty-led study abroad programs in the College of Human Sciences are designed specifically for CHS students to be able to benefit personally, academically, and professionally,” said Erin French, the college’s director of international programs. “Our students will broaden their understanding of other countries and cultures, explore firsthand the concepts and principles they’ve been learning about in textbooks, and develop transferable skills to assist with their future careers.”

Heightening views of happiness

DenmarkThe three-week human development and family studies program in Denmark, open to all majors, is scheduled for May 19 to June 9.

Students will explore the question of what makes a happy life, gaining insights from a country that has often ranked No. 1 in the World Happiness Report published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and commissioned by the United Nations. Participants will visit locales across Denmark — including Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute — to learn about hygge, a Scandinavian concept of coziness, comfort, and charm.

Amanda Hillman, a lecturer in human development and family studies who will lead the exploration, said the study abroad program will immerse students in hands-on, lived experiences.

“One of the most common things you hear about hygge is that's it's not something you can simply understand cognitively (reading a definition); it’s something you must feel and experience,” she said. “It is my hope that this program will have lasting and meaningful applications for students’ personal and professional development beyond what I could ever build into a syllabus formally.”

Examining the Asian apparel industry

TaiwanThe apparel, merchandising, and design study abroad program in Taiwan and Japan will take students to East Asia for two weeks beginning May 6.

Students in the program will participate in workshops provided by Bunka Gakuen University in Tokyo and visit classes at Taiwan’s Fu Jen Catholic University, which has an exchange agreement with Iowa State University. They will also examine and evaluate the current state of the apparel industries in East Asia.

Doreen Chung, an assistant professor in apparel, events, and hospitality management who will lead the program, said students will visit retail centers that are revitalized abandoned factories.

“They’ll gain hands-on experiences in topics such as visual merchandising and Yuzen dyeing (traditional Japanese dyeing), which is only available through a study abroad program like ours and not offered to any commercial tours,” Chung said. “The program will immerse students in the cultures of both Taiwan and Japan, which are known for their fusion of creativity and tradition.”

Talking eastern European tourism trends

PragueStudents taking part in the event planning and hospitality management study abroad program in the Czech Republic will spend two weeks in Prague, May 7 to 20.

Though the program is sponsored by the Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, it is open to all majors. Students will discover the event and hospitality industry of Prague — one of the most visited cities in the world — and compare and contrast it to the industry in the United States.

“The goal of the program is to immerse students in the beauty and culture of Prague while exposing them to the phenomenal growth in the event and hospitality industries within Prague and the Czech Republic,” said Rita McClain, a lecturer and event management internship coordinator in apparel, events, and hospitality management who will lead the program. “Students will learn by visiting beautiful and historic event venues and meeting firsthand with event planning and hospitality professionals.”

Growing in cultural competence

NetherlandsThe School of Education will sponsor a seminar on immigration and inclusion in Europe, May 7 to 25. The study abroad program, which will visit the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Belgium, is open to all majors.

Participating students will visit schools and government agencies to develop a better understanding of immigration, refugee relocation, and inclusion. Social media will play an integral role in the course content, helping students develop an understanding of different cultures and build empathy. Students will meet practitioners and policy makers in educational contexts.

Rohit Mehta, a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Education, said the need for the program stems from the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Europe and new responses to asylum seekers and immigrants.

“The migration crisis has shown us that inclusion and acceptance are not just issues to be dealt with globally by political parties and commissions, but also individually in local communities,” he said. “I wanted to design a program that could allow students from all majors to experience what asylum seekers go through and what European nations are doing to help accommodate them in local communities. Here in the U.S., we can all learn something about being more inclusive and understanding of people’s needs and experiences.”

Adding education value

While the new programs will expand the College of Human Sciences’ international reach, other summer programs will continue a number of recurring learning experiences. Students will:

Explore craftsmanship and hospitality in western Europe.
Familiarize themselves with the historical and cultural influences that have shaped Chile’s education and human services systems.
Experience kinesiology in Ireland.
Work with chefs in Italy.

Nearly 550 students have participated in the College of Human Sciences’ sponsored study abroad programs since spring 2009. In the 2009-10 academic year, 36 students took part in the programs, whereas in the 2016-2017 academic year, 84 took part — a 133 percent increase.

Nicole Humphrey, a program assistant in the college’s international programs office, said the college works to make the programs available to all students, regardless of their financial situation. Students are often able to use financial aid resources for a study abroad program, and the college’s international programs office offers a passport reimbursement program for students without a passport who are going on a study abroad program.

“The College of Human Sciences offers several scholarship opportunities for students studying abroad, especially for the faculty-led summer programs coordinated through our college,” she said. “We strive to make sure study abroad can be a reality for all students despite their financial resources. We design many of our summer programs to be toward the start of summer, so that students will still have time for summer jobs or internships.”