A group of York students is enjoying three weeks in the United States as part of the University’s inaugural International Study Centre (ISC) this summer.
The ISC, held from 20 June to 7 July, is designed to offer a short-term alternative to those wishing to study abroad but unable to commit to a longer stay, allowing more students to gain valuable international experience and improve their employability.
The first three days of the trip involved a cultural experience in New York, with highlights including visits to the Tenement Museum, the 9/11 Memorial and a harbour cruise, as well as an inspirational meeting with York alumnus Dan Simon, the President of Cognito, a global communications firm based in the Big Apple.
Now the 31 students are taking part in an intensive cross discipline academic programme in Leadership and Social Change based at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, one of America’s leading liberal arts institutions.
The students have chosen to study one of four themes – food security and hunger, community organising, youth development, and arts and activism – and are working with local community-based organisations to apply the theory they learn to real world situations.
Katie Sansom, a first year undergraduate with the Department of Sociology, says, "This time last year I had just finished my A-levels and was so excited about Uni, but I could never have imagined I would be in New York City, making fabulous new friends and getting to study a course at Mount Holyoke."
Master of Law (LLM) student Kris Kilsby adds, "This is a fantastic experience in so many ways, helping to develop your personal and cultural understanding in a way employers could only dream of.”
The new ISC initiative is in addition to a number of long-standing links with the USA and Canada which already provide an opportunity to spend a year at a partner institution.
It is providing students with a stimulating and thought-provoking experience which they can use to enhance their CVs and help them secure employment
University of York International Relations Officer Jennifer Oxley says, “The International Study Centres are one of the exciting initiatives being developed by the University's new Centre for Global Programmes. Not all students are able to commit to a year abroad, so the International Study Centre opens up the possibility of an international experience to a broader range of people. It is providing students with a stimulating and thought-provoking experience which they can use to enhance their CVs and help them secure employment.
“For next year, we are looking to introduce more International Study Centres, perhaps in China and South Africa, giving even more students an opportunity to study abroad.”
The group of students currently in the States include UK, EU, international and distance learning students. A number of students received bursaries covering full or part of the costs of the trip. These were funded by the University of York and Santander.