What are the advantages of a Faculty Led Program?


Students and Faculty from Alcalá program in front of building

Alcalá de Henares, Spain Faculty Led Program, Summer 2015

tidepools cropped

Students from the Xiamen, China Faculty Led Program explore tidepools in Coastal Volcano National Geologic Park of ZhangZhou, Summer 2015.

The programs are short.   If you only have a short period to travel between semesters, a faculty led program may be ideal for you.   Faculty led programs usually run  2 – 4 weeks, with a group of 15 – 20 students and typically are organized by one or two SDSU College of Sciences faculty. Programs run for various lengths of time during Summer Break (May – August)  and the Winter Break (January).

The programs are led by experienced faculty familiar with the surroundings, with local contacts.  If this is your first time abroad, you may feel more comfortable having a seasoned faculty person close by.  You and your classmates will receive a structured orientation before departure detailing coursework, logistics, money, safety, transportation, excursions and the like.   Rather than face 101 questions on your own the first day in a new country, (how to get places, change money, use public transportation,  etc.) you  can be assured that your professor it is close by should assistance be required.

Courses are credit bearing.  All programs are designed by faculty to meet the academic and cultural objectives of the program and SDSU’s credit requirements.

The faculty leaders can concentrate on academic instruction.  Since SDSU organizes the accommodations and excursions,  faculty have fewer logistical and administrative concerns, and can give maximum attention to teaching.

girl in polka dot blouse riding bike

Some people just like polka dots. “Thriving on Diversity: Exploring Multiculturalism in Switzerland and Italy” a Psychology Faculty Led Program offered early summer.

Some people just like polka dots. “Thriving on Diversity: Exploring Multiculturalism in Switzerland and Italy” a Psychology Faculty Led Program offered early summer.

Excursions are carefully organized by professionals.   Rather than the student having to figure out what to do and see outside the classroom, the arrangements are made for you.  Guided excursions enrich the program immensely – full day or half day guided outings by train/bus are designed to augment course content. For example, our Psychology Faculty Led Program going to Switzerland and Italy has an excursion to Venice for the day, tying in diversity/multiculturalism  along the way.  A Faculty Led Program has all the details pre-arranged. so you can zero in on absorbing the material and soaking up the culture.

Local Experts bring knowledge and know-how. Often our SDSU faculty have local colleagues who enhance the experience by giving lectures/tours or leading research in their area of expertise.   In our Alcalá, Spain program, for example, faculty from Alcalá de Henares collaborate with teaching and conduct excursions.

multi enthnic group at dinner, Xiamen china

College of Sciences Faculty Led program to Xiamen, China: SDSU students work with other students world-wide.

 You will meet other students from all over the world.  Often, students from the local university are blended into the class as well, as well as international students from other universities worldwide. For example, on our Xiamen, China Climate Change program you might be in a lecture beside a Chinese student, have lunch with a group of Swedes, and be exploring the town with Italians after dinner.

 Courses are designed to immerse you into global culture.  You will not be sequestered in a dorm room or insulated within a bubble of Americana.   In our Alcalá, Spain Program , for example, U.S. students work on a project with a student from the University of Alcalá de Henares.   In all programs you will be walking around the city with your new friends, interacting with the locals, exploring your surroundings, and experiencing the culture first hand.

Housing and some meals are arranged: Students are housed either in university dormitories, modest hotels, or hostels, usually 2 students per room.  One or two meals are eaten together with the group each day, and  students from the local university and other visiting scholars regularly join in.  Programs vary in their design, but all programs offer students some degree of free time to socialize and explore or just relax.