Kelcee Kuster, junior French major, isn’t exposed to much French culture in St. Louis. Kuster has studied French since the seventh grade and is considering studying abroad to expand her French language skills.
Students like Kuster will have that chance starting next spring.
Webster has partnered with two universities — one in Brussels, Belgium, and the other in Oviedo, Spain. Studying abroad at these institutions will be possible for students starting in the 2014 spring and summer semesters. Due to class schedules at these institutions, studying abroad will not be available in the fall semester.
The partnership allows students interested in studying abroad to strengthen their language skills and spend a semester at either location.
“If you’re studying a language and you go abroad to a different campus and everything’s in English, you don’t really get the immersion that you need to become fluent in that kind of language,” Kuster said. “With these new opportunities being offered, you can actually become fluent and converse not only with the local populace, but also with academics.”
The new abroad opportunity in Brussels, Belgium is at the Haute É’cole De Bruxelles. This institution specializes in the translation and interpretation of languages.
“There’s infinite possibilities of what I think the Brussels campus could provide somebody like me,” Kuster said. “It’s very much enabling you to do more than you would by yourself at an English-speaking campus abroad.”
Webster’s other partnership is with the University of Oviedo in Oviedo, Spain. It’s a public university located in the Asturias providence of Spain. Webster wanted a partnership with this location to be separate from the tourist-heavy areas of the country, to offer students a more genuine experience.
“What we were looking for was a place where you would have not only the Spanish character, but not be surrounded by that many Americans,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, director of international projects of study abroad. “We’re looking to provide something different that we’re not providing with our own campuses right now.”
These partnerships are a part of a student exchange program. One or two students will be sent to the selected campus, while two students from the abroad campus will study at the St. Louis campus. Webster wants this number of students to be equal, or close to equal.
“The university has tried to maintain certain balance,” Rodriguez said. “I send you two; you send me two. If you want to send me 10, I have to think it over, because then it’s going to cost me more than it’s costing you.”
The University of Oviedo was chosen because it offers various classes in English. But if the student is proficient enough in the respective language, he or she can take classes that native students would take. Classes at the Brussels location will only be offered in French, according to Kate Brooks, department associate in the Office of Study Abroad. She also stated in an email, “the new partnerships are for students who are interested in French or Spanish language and cultural immersion.”
Interested students will pay at the St. Louis campus for their housing. The deadline for submitting a request to study at these locations for spring 2014 is Sept. 15.
Correction: This article previously stated the deadline for study abroad opportunities at these new partnering schools is Sept. 14. It has been updated to the correct date of Sept. 15. The article also alluded to the university in Oviedo, Spain to be a new Webster University campus. Webster has partnered with the University of Oviedo and is not adding an international campus there. This article also previously stated both partnering schools offered courses in English. The University of Oviedo does offer some courses in English, however, Haute Ecole de Bruxelles only offers classes in French.