Published: Tue Feb 27, 2007Ferdinand Magellan, in the 1500s, became the first person credited with circumnavigating the globe, and a student exchange program that bears his name today is helping students at Tennessee Tech University and other select Southern and Midwestern universities explore the world.
TTU is one of only 10 American universities that are member institutions of the Magellan exchange program, which also has about 10 member institutions in Europe and one in Mexico.
“Most of Magellan's partner institutions are in small- to medium-sized communities to help reduce the expense and to provide a more safe environment, yet they are centrally located and near the larger cities,” said Amy Miller, TTU’s study abroad coordinator. “They generally have plenty of public transportation which allows our students numerous opportunities to travel while they are abroad.”
The way the program works, in-coming students essentially take the place of out-going students at each participating institution — and language is no barrier for American students since a variety of courses at the European and Mexican schools is offered in English.
“Students pay their usual tuition and fees to their home institution and can have an affordable educational and cultural experience in a foreign country for either a semester or a full academic year,” Miller said.
For Traniece Brown-Warrens, a TTU accounting major from California, the Magellan exchange program proved even more affordable since studying for a semester in the Netherlands eliminated her out-of-state tuition.
“I’m so glad I did it, and not just because it was cheaper for me to go to Europe for a semester than it was for me to study here,” she said. “I’d always wanted to travel, and this was just a great opportunity and experience.”
TTU offers a round-trip airfare reimbursement option for its students who choose to study abroad, Miller said, and the Magellan program estimates that the cost per semester to study abroad, in addition to regular tuition and fees, is around $5,000.
In addition to the cost of airfare, which isn’t reimbursed at many institutions, that semester cost includes passports and visas, room and board, textbooks, health insurance and other personal expenses, including leisure travel. Brown-Warrens said the estimated cost was a realistic assessment.
With no campus housing at the Hogeschool Zuyd, where she studied while in the Netherlands, all the school’s foreign exchange students were housed on the same floor of a nearby hotel. There were students from Spain, France, Slovakia, China, Belgium and several other countries all living near each other.
“Because of our shared experience, I became friends with several of the other exchange students — including another student from TTU who, even though we were from the same campus, I didn’t know until we met there,” she said.
Classmates in several courses, they found that the academic environment in the Netherlands was much more relaxed than in the United States.
“When we get our course schedule here, we know what days and times our classes will meet throughout the semester, but it wasn’t as definite there,” she said. “Sometimes, a class would meet several times a week, other times it would meet only once a week, and occasionally, it would go for a week or longer without meeting.”
On those occasions, Brown-Warrens and her new found friends spent their spare time traveling.
“I made a list of all the places I wanted to visit while I was over there, and of all the places I wrote down, there was only one — Berlin — that I didn’t make it to,” she said.
As well as visiting Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, she also traveled to Rome and Vatican City, Slovakia, Prague and the Czech Republic, Paris, London, Munich and Belgium.
“The personal traveling I did while I was there was as much of an educational experience as anything else,” she said. “I often found myself thinking, ‘This is something I’ve seen before in books, and now here I am — standing right in front of it.’
“It’s an experience that I definitely wouldn’t trade for anything in the world and one that I would highly recommend to anyone who’s interested in seeing more of what the world has to offer,” she said.
Utilized most often by TTU’s College of Business students like Brown-Warrens, the Magellan program’s European and Mexican institutions also offer some instruction in English that could make foreign exchange possible for students of other majors, such as computer science, engineering, agriculture and communications.
Catalogs for all participating organizations and application materials are available online at www.magellanonline.org.
The cost of applying is $100. The fall deadline is March 15, and the spring deadline is Oct. 15.
For more information about the Magellan program and other foreign exchange programs at TTU, call or e-mail Miller at 931/372-3634 or firstname.lastname@example.org.