Mechanical engineering major Brennan Dwyer '18 knew he wanted to study abroad but wasn't sure that was possible given the sequential courses required for engineering students to graduate in four years. Recognizing that education abroad is challenging for some majors, the International Programs Office (IPO) found new partners to give engineering and nursing majors opportunities for international experiences.
For the first time in the summer of 2016, students from the College of Nursing were able to enroll in courses at the University College Dublin, Ireland, and University of Oviedo, Spain. For engineering students, IPO now collaborates with three new universities that offer engineering courses: Heriot Watt University in Scotland, Hong
Kong University of Science and Technology, and Swansea University in the United Kingdom. As a result, in 2015- 16, 17 students took two or more engineering courses abroad, compared with seven in 2014-15.
Dwyer took three engineering courses at the University College Dublin, an existing partner, in the 2016 spring semester that matched the courses he would have enrolled in at UMass Amherst. "I really wanted to make this work;' he says, "When else in your life are you going to be able to change countries and schools?" He says he was exposed to a different style of teaching and learning and enjoyed living in Ireland and learning more in -depth its history and culture. "It forced me to be a bit more outgoing and independent;' Dwyer says.
In the new initiative for nursing students, they have the option of studying at Irish and Spanish universities, taking up to three courses. In a new partnership, the Spanish department has joined the nursing college and IPO by accepting credits from Oviedo that can be applied to a Spanish certificate.
"We are pleased that more students in majors that have less flexibility : in schedules can take advantage of education abroad and benefit from those experiences;' says Jack Ahern, vice provost for international programs.