[dropcap]O[/dropcap]hio University’s Office of Global Opportunities has recently collaborated with OHIO professors to design and construct four exciting new domestic program opportunities featured in Texas, the Central Plains, Florida and California.
South by Southwest, Storm Chasing Experience, Storytelling, Technology, and Digital Media in Theme Parks, and Semester in LA are the current running domestic programs, taking place throughout the present and upcoming year.
These “study away” programs will provide students with the opportunity to gain new knowledge and connections within the field of their choice, while gaining hands-on learning experiences and academic credit here in the United States.
“To be successful as a global citizen in the world, you want to have global experiences and that includes the U.S.,” said Lori Lammert, associate director of OGO. “So [we’re] really looking at off campus transformative learning experiences.”
While at first it may seem odd to take part in a program within your own country, domestic away programs offer incalculable opportunities and experiences, both different and alike typical study abroad programs.
“The programs we develop are going to have a very specific academic focus and that’s going to help students master that academic area,” said Lammert. “It just really offers a different type of exposure.”
Contact among various industries and working environments is one particularly important asset these domestic programs offer.
“What I’m excited to see with the domestic programs we’re working on so far is a lot of them are getting really specific exposure to industries in which students may want to pursue a career, and that’s a pretty valuable resource for those students,” explained Lammert.
The Semester in LA domestic program is a perfect example of this specific exposure, as it allows students to expand their knowledge and experience of and within Hollywood’s various industries through internships, networking and tours.
“The objective of the program is to give students the opportunity to gain exposure in the entertainment industries in Los Angeles,” Semester in LA Director Roger Cooper said.
Semester in LA is currently in session and will be continuing throughout the fall semester.
“It’s going really well and we’ve done some really cool stuff,” said Lindsey Hatcher, a Semester in LA student. “We’ve been trying to immerse ourselves. It’s important to experience the LA environment.”
The students have already been extremely busy, as they are all working as interns for media companies, attending classes and meeting countless individuals within the industry.
“So far we have gone to three sitcom tapings, participated in a professional focus group, heard from various successful alumni from OU, attended a Fall Season Television premier, and toured multiple studios and facilities. Its only been the third week, I can’t wait to see what else is in store,” said Zackary Gilanyi, another Semester in LA participant.
The relationships that the students are developing within LA are one of the most important aspects of the program. “We are making highly beneficial and successful relationships with alumni and industry professionals that can only be made face to face,” said Gilanyi.
“We’re meeting just tons and tons of people,” added Cooper.
South by Southwest is another program that allows students the chance to be engrossed in several industries, including music and film, while taking part in a massive media industry gathering known as South by Southwest.
“I always have thought of it as a major music festival, but it’s actually got a huge integrative media component,” said Lammert. “It’s a huge networking event for the music and media industries,”
With options for hands-on learning, Storm Chasing Experience is designed specifically for meteorology students. Following the necessary course on supercell thunderstorm and tornadoes, students will spend one week traveling the Central Plains of the U.S., including Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, to predict particular locations of upcoming storms.
“They wont have an exact itinerary in advance, they’re going to have to go where the storms take them. For their careers, it’d be a really good experience,” said Lammert.
The fourth new domestic program, Storytelling, Technology, and Digital Media in Theme Parks, focuses on the combination of various media. At the end of their semester course, students will take a trip to Orlando for eight days to engage in field experience while living at a Walt Disney World Resort.
“It’s looking at how media, how communications is used in a theme park environment. So looking at many different facets of media studies, design, technology and storytelling principals in a theme park,” said Lammert.
Lammert explained that there is more to “global” than we often consider, which is one of the reasons why these four programs were developed. “We can’t think of us and them. In educating our students to become global citizens, the U.S. is just as much a part of that picture as traveling to another country. So I’d love to see as many students as possible taking part in both programs here in the U.S. and programs abroad,” she said.
While OGO is currently only working with four professors, Lammert said they are hoping to expand and begin working with more faculty.
Other cross-cultural, domestic programs have been in the works, as well. “It’s not official yet, but we have a faculty member who wants to take students to a Native American reservation and do a documentary project. What a neat cross cultural experience there, but also an experience that gives students an opportunity to utilize the skills they’re learning here,” said Lammert.
Further unique experiences, such as a service-learning program at a Native American reservation, are also brewing within the walls of OGO.
To find out more about the current domestic abroad opportunities, visit http://www.ohio.edu/educationabroad/Programs/Domestic_Programs.html.
Note: This article was written in September of 2014.