Nearly 200 students head abroad during spring break

By Jack Behrend

CWRU student studying abroad in AmsterdamIt’s day two of spring break, which means many Case Western Reserve University students already are enjoying vacation destinations, home or just a stress-free week on campus. Nearly 200 Case Western Reserve students have decided to take a different route, however, choosing to enroll in one of 13 study-abroad programs across 10 countries. These students will participate in a variety of courses and programs, gaining valuable multi-national perspectives in countries such as the Netherlands, France, Spain, Greece, Nicaragua and more.

The 13 programs are split between credit-bearing programs, in which students receive three credit hours for participation, and service-oriented programs. Sponsored by various departments and centers, there are international programs for almost every major and ambition.

“These courses offer students the opportunity not only to learn about a new culture but to experience it as well,” said Stuart Youngner, chair of the Department of Bioethics. “Besides expanding their geographical horizons, the inevitable comparison of the new context with their own will also enrich their understanding of their own values and cultural assumptions, a sure recipe for personal growth.”

This week, the Department of Bioethics sent 47 students to Amsterdam, Paris and Salamanca, Spain, as a part of three different courses. Each three-credit course is designed to present a “brief but intense exposure” into another country’s perspective on the complex issues surrounding ethics in medical practices and research.

The Center for Civic Engagement and Learning, with support from the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, is offering a service opportunity in which students travel to a coastal community in Nicaragua to work with the nonprofit organization Waves of Hope. On this trip, students will perform basic construction projects, work with a local after-school youth group and immerse themselves in the Nicaraguan culture.

Nearly 60 students from the Mandel School of Applied Social Science are studying social policies and practices for health and human services in The Netherlands, Guatemala and Poland. While there, students have the opportunity to work directly with policymakers and service providers in the countries to better understand the environments. The experience allows students to consider how they might create new approaches to the country’s problems, according to Mandel School Dean Grover C. Gilmore.

“Students report that the courses are transformative experiences for them. They are stretched intellectually and see their own experiences in a different light,” he said. “Also, they have fun exploring the fascinating sights and attractions of the countries we visit.”

Each spring, a Weatherhead School of Management course, International Institute, ends with a study-abroad program as part of a semester of study on a particular region. This semester, 31 students spent the semester learning and researching cultural, economic and political details about Central Europe. To provide real-world context for their studies, students will visit Milan and Munich, meeting with various business organizations in the region.

Other spring break opportunities include a continuing education trip to Greece, an engineering course in Malawi and a service trip to Rome, among others.

The Office of Education Abroad has information about all study abroad opportunities for CWRU students. To learn more, visit