Bound for BrusselsPosted by admin on 11/08/10 • Categorized as Fall/Winter 2010
Less remarkable pursuits abroad provided learning opportunities, too. McClellan, for his part, joined a city basketball team in Brussels. Gyi, a longtime lover of classical music, attended operas in Brussels and Milan. Houdek even bought a car, a Karmann Ghia, from the Volkswagen plant in Essen, Germany.
“Brussels was profound,” says Houdek, who went on to a distinquished career in the foreign service, national intelligence, and the U.S. Department of State. “Beloit always nurtured, developed, and directed my inclination to international affairs and the foreign service.”
McClellan farmed in Delavan for 11 years after Beloit, before joining a Madison, Wis.-based manufacturing company and traveling the world as a training manager.
“It gave me confidence,” he says of his Brussels experience. “I wouldn’t have traded any classroom time for it.”
Today, about 45 percent of Beloit College students spend a semester abroad, according to Elizabeth Brewer, director of Beloit’s Office of International Education.
In recent years, the college has emphasized the integration of study abroad experiences with students’ individual courses of study. That could mean strengthening language skills, learning how to do field-based research, or writing a travel memoir. With Web-based technology, it’s suddenly possible for students to connect with Beloit in real-time when they’re abroad: blogging, reporting to classrooms via video-phone software like Skype, even taking classes that are taught on-campus while studying on the other side of the globe. And each fall, students who have done academic work in another country have the opportunity to share it with the campus community during International Symposium.
“The value people place on international education, whether or not they study abroad, has really increased,” Brewer says, noting that faculty support is on the rise, too. “It’s becoming much easier for us to say, ‘yes, this has value.’”
Amy Elliott’06 is a Detroit-based freelance writer and editor. She writes irreverently about pre-automotive Detroit history in her blog, nighttraintodetroit.com.
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