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Study Abroad/Study Away

Students in the School of Communications and Information Systems have two opportunities to see the world during their undergraduate experience.

Working in partnership with the university's Center for Global Engagement (CGE), the School assists students in semester-length or short-term study abroad or study away options. 

Students interested in studying abroad for a semester should discuss their plans with their academic adviser at least six months ahead of when they intend to head overseas. The CGE has prepared an important "Getting Started" page of tips, which should be consulted. The Center also can identify which universities partner with RMU in ensuring academic credit for the classes taken at that institution. 

The popular Faculty-Led Education Abroad Program (FLEAP) has allowed students to visit multiple countries, including Ireland, Italy and Northern Ireland, and the Navajo Nation in the southwest United States. These two-week trips, which typically take place in May, begin with an eight-week immersion into the relevant communication, educational, cultural, historical, political, economic and social aspects of the nation that will be visited. This immersion takes place at RMU, and it is led by the faculty who then travel with the students. 

The CGE's relevant forms and materials, for a semester abroad or for a FLEAP, can be accessed here.

The testimonials you see below from faculty who have led these programs attest to the academic and cultural benefits of these trips.

Christine Holtz, Department of Media Arts

I’m one of the faculty leaders for the Ireland/Northern Ireland FLEAP program. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Ireland with over 200 RMU students since 2011.

Studying abroad is a great opportunity for SCIS students because it pushes you to get out of your comfort zone. Travel allows students to experience another culture, language and environment, gaining much needed global awareness and appreciation of other ways of living. In my course Photography Study Abroad we use photography as a tool to document, interpret and understand the world around us.

If I could offer one piece of advice for SCIS students considering studying abroad, it would be to take advantage of it! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Immerse yourself in the culture; you will grow personally and academically. 

One of the special experiences I’ve had while traveling abroad with RMU students was in 2012, we were invited to visit with Ambassador and Mrs. Rooney at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, located in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. 


Anthony Moretti, Department of Communication

I've taken groups of students overseas three times, and the two most recent trips have come while I've been on the RMU faculty.

My excitement for these trips, which typically last 14 days, builds as we get closer to departure day because the students' enthusiasm is palpable. Whether they've been to the country or countries we're visiting before is irrelevant; they're eager to explore, study and immerse themselves in everything that's there.

RMU's Center for Global Engagement is a critical ally in these Faculty-Led Education Abroad Programs. That office handles the critical logistics for these international programs, ensuring that I can focus on the academic components associated with the 8-week class and the subsequent visit.

An international experience is critical for SCIS students. I believe that any international destination requires students to reflect on how the cultural, political, social and other norms in the U.S. are alike and different from the country we're visiting. Moreover, I want students to grasp how they’re treated once people realize they're American citizens. And I demand that they act as professional journalists from the moment they arrive; I want them to be inquisitive, to ask questions, to talk to the people they meet, to see the world through those men and women they just met, and more.

My favorite memory from Ireland came in 2013. I was told how beautiful the community of Sneem, with a population of 300, was. As the bus taking us there inched closer and closer, I could see such wonder and anticipation in the eyes of my students.

We soon checked into the absolutely wonderful Sneem Hotel. As I unpacked, I threw open the curtains in my room. And I saw this:

I later told my wife that perhaps we should retire in Ireland!


Hyla Willis, Department of Media Arts

Design Italiano! involves looking, seeing, observing and being a good traveler. We examine more art and do more walking than you think is possible. We ride trains and buses with ordinary Italians and international tourists. Each year, we end up shopping for Italian shoes for someone whose feet hurt.

Someone usually cries, not from blisters, but because, although they’ve seen coffee mugs featuring Michelangelo’s David sculpture or Botticelli's Birth of Venus painting, the real thing is simply overwhelming. Sixteenth century pencil graffiti is still present on the walls of the Medici Family Chapel.

A favorite memory is standing alongside the Arno River in Florence, looking at the Medieval Ponte Vecchio Bridge next to an awestruck student. He’d already “been there” many times, but virtually, from within the Assassin’s Creed video game.

Coffee abounds in Italy. We enjoy it as the Italians do: standing up at the bar, with a fresh pastry, and for less than $3. When you get homesick, there’s “The New York Coffee Experience” in Florence, with Italian interpretations of American renditions of Italian coffee culture.

Venice is the city with all the canals and no cars in the historic center. You learn how to ride the public transportation — the Vaporetto. It works just like a city bus, except it’s a boat. Venice is so beautiful you can hardly believe it, and is home to exhibitions of the very latest international visual arts and architecture.