More than 20 Ohio Northern University students will be taking advantage of their winter break by learning in other countries during January Term, or “J-Term,” which provides opportunities for additional study on and off campus.
Students will be traveling to eight countries, including San Jose, Costa Rica; Lisbon, Portugal; Seoul, South Korea; Salzburg, Austria; Paris, France; Florence, Italy; Salamanca, Spain; and London, England.
Jeff Smith, director of Global Initiatives, said 12 undergraduates will be studying abroad this J-Term compared to eight last year, thanks, in part, to increased endowment funding and the success of this year’s Forward Together campaign.
Ten ONU Law students will also be venturing to London.
The variety of studies illustrates the expansiveness and versatility of ONU’s academic programs, which focus on experiential learning. For instance, one student will be traveling to Costa Rica to learn more about tropical medicine, while another will be studying “Music in the Age of Mozart” while in Austria. History lessons in London and business marketing instruction in Paris are also planned. Four students will be traveling to Seoul, South Korea, to study at Hanyang University (HYU), a private research school; ONU has an exchange agreement with HYU that also enables students to receive free summer tuition.
The Office of Global Initiatives prepares students for international travel by hosting orientation sessions to maximize their upcoming experience. Smith said he incorporates exercises and discussions intended to spark their curiosity, prepare them for how to handle the unexpected, and develop independence.
“I want students to not just see things, but to ask questions,” he said.
Smith also emphasizes that world travelers must adapt, be flexible, and use good judgement. Unanticipated situations will arise, he said, that will require students to react “on the fly” while considering cultural sensitivities and safety.
Many ONU students who have taken previous educational trips to other countries found their experiences to be richly rewarding.
Student Macy Zachary, who participated in the London trip last year, said, “It was really interesting to see a comparative study of how the legal system functions in two different countries, especially considering how much of our own legal system consists of English common law.”
“London is the perfect place to put everything the students are learning in the classroom into context,” said Associate Dean Bryan Ward when he accompanied students there earlier this year.
Historic locations such as Hampton Court Palace, Westminster Abbey and Middle Temple Hall are on the agenda again, as are chances for students to explore and experience London’s cultural offerings that showcase music, art, food, and more.
For Stanley Ference, a highlight of his ‘23 trip was visiting the Inns of Court and learning about the process of becoming a Barrister or trial attorney.
“In order to become a barrister, applicants have to go through much more rigorous training. This includes a pupillage which is similar to an apprenticeship. These are hard to come by and the pay is little, especially for the cost of living in London. Yet, it is necessary in order to become a barrister,” said Ference. “In the U.S., we do not have this requirement. U.S. students are able to get practical experience in externships, clerkships, or internships but it is not required. It made me appreciate the options available to U.S. law students and the importance of such practical legal training that is optional for U.S. students.”