Setting off on a pioneering study abroad experience

Setting off on a pioneering study abroad experience


Ryan Geiger

Meet ... Ryan Geiger

Major: Guidance Counseling and Student Affairs
Location: Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and France
Studying: Researching the design and delivery of study abroad while studying abroad. Geiger is the first Guidance Counseling and Student Affairs student from BU to pursue a study abroad opportunity.

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I have established a reputation as being the “international guy” within my program. I always had an interest in doing a study abroad but somehow talked myself out of it because of the cost, fitting it into my schedule, etc.

Finally I started looking at study abroad programs at the graduate level realizing it was now or never. I wanted to find a study abroad that would provide a unique experience as well as compliment my particular areas of interest in college student affairs.

I was forwarded an email from Denise Davidson, Ph.D., of a program offered by Kent State University in Florence and Italy. I spoke to her about it and she told me that both the NASPA and ACPA (the two biggest professional organizations for college student affairs professionals), websites usually list study abroad opportunities for students. On the ASPA website, I saw the program offered through Kent State once again. I looked into the details of the program and was very interested.

The program was called The Design and Delivery of Study Abroad while Studying Abroad.

I requested a copy of the course syllabus from the program assistant, and it looked even more interesting. After further exploration of this program, I was totally hooked!

I met with BU's college student affairs program coordinator, Mark Bauman, Ph.D., to see how feasible this study abroad would fit into my program … actually; the conversation from my end was more along the lines that I was going even if it wouldn’t count for credit towards my specific program.

Bauman was equally excited for this opportunity for me as I was and was willing to look into seeing how this study abroad would fit into my course of study.

I am the first student in the Guidance Counseling and Student Affairs program to pursue a study abroad opportunity. I believe I am the first graduate student at Bloomsburg to do a study abroad for graduate credit in a long time as well. Some rules for undergraduate students did not apply to me, and I had to inquire what the process would be for me as a graduate student.

This was not always the easiest process and it goes without saying that decision-making takes time in higher education. Undoubtedly, this will frustrate you as you are ecstatic about your upcoming study abroad opportunity. Do not let this time delay discourage you.

In my experience, the delay is because the powers that be are evaluating what will benefit you the best. Ultimately though, the decision will be made, and things will transition well; from there, getting ready for the trip is up to you.

My journey will take place from May 24 until June 11. In this time I will visit Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and France. In addition to studying, I will connect with some BU students who are also studying in the same places I am and connect with former BU exchange students.

    — Ryan Geiger, graduate student