Study Abroad Program Summer Fun

Mon, Jul 31, 2023

Did You do Anything Fun this Summer?

Several Vol State students and faculty members can confidently say “Yes! I traveled the world through study abroad this summer!”

Study abroad programs provide life-changing academic experiences. Every program enables students to immerse themselves in another culture while visiting sites of cultural and historical importance that connect directly to the course material.  This summer, 21 Vol State students and seven Vol State faculty participated in study abroad programs in 11 countries. Here are some highlights from the faculty perspective.

England with Carol “Top” Topping, Psychology Faculty

The best aspect of introducing students to England each summer is helping them explore a new country where the primary language is English! That takes off an element of anxiety in communicating with the locals, ordering food, finding excursion locations, and exploring the unknown on days off from class.

Japan with Melanie Cochran, History Faculty

Going to Japan with students was an amazing experience, as beneficial for me as it was for the students. All agreed that Japan is spectacular. It was so great to see the students in awe of this country's beauty, friendliness, history, efficiency, and safety. Many students who participated had never been abroad before, so I was able to see their worldviews expanding in a tremendous and meaningful way. They realized that we have a lot to learn from other countries and cultures, particularly with the ways that the Japanese people respect the environment, public spaces, and each other.

Ireland and South Africa with Ami Price, English Faculty

My favorite thing about teaching abroad is that the world is our classroom. There is no better educational experience than walking in the footsteps of the authors and historical figures who have created some of the world’s most powerful literary works.

In study abroad programs, our classrooms don’t have walls. Instead, we explore sites of historical, cultural, and literary importance that bring the material to life in a way that simply can’t be emulated in a traditional classroom.

Scotland with Stella Pierce, History Faculty

I love the directness of the learning process, both for myself and my students. The story is not just being taught, it can be touched, seen, experienced, and felt on a much deeper level than any classroom can allow. I have learned so much myself, it's a dwarfing experience.

In the classroom, my favorite moments are those when I can read the surprise and interest on students’ faces. Seeing that fascination play out for a student is one of the greatest joys of teaching. But in study abroad, it’s not moments, and it’s not individual students. It’s nearly a universal experience of curiosity every day. They become inquisitive beings, as if they are experiencing the world anew each moment. They become enthralled with learning!! 

Want to Learn More?

Vol State study abroad programs are administered in partnership with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS). Full-time faculty interested in teaching abroad in Spring and Summer 2025 can apply from November 1, 2023 to February 1, 2024. Students may apply to study abroad in 2024 starting in the Fall 2023 semester. Scholarships are available to assist with travel costs! Visit for details.

Blog Author
Rhonda Gregory
Professor Topping and students inside the London Eye, 2023

Professor Topping and students inside the London Eye, 2023

Japanese structure 2023, credit: Melanie Cochran
Professors Ami Price and Ben Graves with students in a South Africa tour bus, 2023
Professor Ben Graves at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
A spectacular Scotland scenic ocean view, credit: Stella Pierce