Global hybrid courses offer unique way to study abroad


Posters have been on display throughout Webster Univerisity’s campus advertising study-abroad classes to places like Shanghai, China, Istanbul and Turkey. These classes, known as global hybrid courses, are different than traditional study-abroad courses. Global hybrid classes are much shorter, meeting for six weeks before a one-to-two week trip abroad.

“The goal of hybrid study-abroad classes is to provide an opportunity to students who would not otherwise get to study abroad because of other commitments,” Guillermo Rodriguez, Director of International Projects and Study-Abroad, said.

For both students and faculty members, studying abroad for eight or 16 weeks at a time may be impossible because of jobs, families or other commitments at home.  Global hybrid classes allow students to get an international experience without putting their lives on hold for a semester.

Each course is developed by a faculty member. The faculty member will prepare the course  — what it will be about, where the trip will be, develop a budget, etc. — and present it to their department.
The department will then go through a process working with the office of study abroad to see if the course would be beneficial and appropriate.

“Obviously the focus is on academics and really providing a unique course, which is why they have to go through the whole proposal process,” Hannah Verity, Assistant to the Dean for Global Programs in the School of Arts and Sciences, said. “We’re making sure it’s a viable, rigorous, academic course. The international component really enhances what the students are being taught in the course.”

While the global hybrid classes are developed by, and for, a specific school, any student is eligible to register for the class as an elective.
Students would first need to meet with their academic adviser to determine if the hybrid course would work with the student’s schedule, then apply to study abroad and register for the course.
Global hybrid courses are worth three credits. Undergraduate students, who pay a flat fee for classes, would not need to pay an additional fee to enroll in a hybrid class unless their total classes would exceed 18 credit hours. The fee for additional credit hours is $570 per credit.

Anne Browning, Director of Flagship Programs for the Walker School of Business, said students should expect to pay between $1000 and $1500 total.
Aside from tuition, there is a $150 study-abroad fee and an additional program fee which varies based upon the destination. The program fee covers things like airfare, hotels and meals. Unlike the traditional study-abroad program, Webster does not cover airfare because the trip lasts fewer than eight weeks.
Scholarships are available to help students cover the costs of traveling. Business students, for example, are eligible to apply for the Walker Travel Award, which gives $1,000 toward the student’s airfare.

“The international experience, even if it’s only one week or two weeks, really opens up the student’s perspective and outlook,” Verity said. “I personally think every student should experience some sort of international travel. It challenges you personally and academically.”

The next global hybrid classes are all within the Walker School of Business. The course BUSN 3100/INTB 5890, Commerce in China, will travel to Shanghai on Nov. 28. A class called Doing Business in Latin America is set to travel to Costa Rica on Dec. 15.
The courses will focus on how business is conducted in different countries and how business is affected by culture and economy. Registration for those classes is due by Oct. 15.

“We live in a global world,” Browning said. “Pretty much anything a business student will do once they graduate will have some sort of global scope from working with international markets to working with international colleagues. Gaining exposure to different cultures, particularly in a business class, is a great way to prepare for that future.”

New global hybrid classes are being approved each semester. The course MNGT 3100/INTB 5890, in Istanbul, titled Turkey: At the Crossroads of Europe and the Middle East, will take place over spring break and will compare business in the Middle East to that of Europe. The School of Arts and Sciences has seen proposals for places like Paris, Sri Lanka and El Salvador for summer 2012.

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