While most GSU students relaxed after finals week this past May, three groups of participants postured themselves for an international expedition. Three faculty-led study abroad programs traveled to various parts of the world this past month. Dr. Olumide Ijose from the college of Business, along with Dr. Cynthia Carr and 13 GSU student participants, studied the culture and business of South Africa. Dr. Caren Rossow and Dr. Jennifer Groebner, along with nine students, visited the Swedish Healthcare Academy in Sweden to learn about the top healthcare system in the world. While the third group, led by Dr. Rebecca Michel, studied the counseling profession throughout Tuscany, Italy.

Joanne Bockmann, a graduate student in the Masters of Health Administration program, initially became interested in the Sweden abroad opportunity through her professor, Dr. Rossow. The inspiration for her desire to study abroad, particularly in Sweden, came from both a professional and personal place. “Because I was completing my MHA, I wanted to learn more about another country’s healthcare system. I am also Swedish and felt that this was a great opportunity to visit the homeland of my great-grand parents”.

Linda Coleman, a transfer student in the Dual-Degree Program and a Healthcare Administration major, shares that participants were encouraged to view their abroad experience through the lens of three elements: cultural, personal and professional. For Linda, Sweden’s unisex facilities was the most memorable cultural adjustment. “Every restroom we encountered, even the ones outdoors in the grasslands were designed as unisex. No one was uncomfortable. It is their custom.” Her highlight for the personal element was Sweden’s diversification. “It is a vastly diversified area. I greatly appreciated being surrounded by various kinds of people. I did not quite expect it to be that way”. For the professional element, she shares how the experience of working one-on-one with top healthcare professionals was invaluable and unforgettable. “There were times we did not even recognize the professional level of those instructing us. We arrived at a facility and received such warm greeting from everyone. There was one particular individual named, “Bo”, who was very hands-on with us and we later realized that he was at the very top of the organization’s hierarchy. There were no heirs. Their system is very people-focused and patient-centralized”.

Student Katelyn Frickenstein feels that the Sweden experience has given her a greater appreciation for different culture and a deeper level of gratitude for her personal life. “Since going on this trip I have been more receptive of different people and their ideas as well as really appreciative for what I am learning here at GSU. I find myself thinking in different ways about the content I am learning in class”.

While the Sweden participants studied the top healthcare system in the world, thirteen other GSU students visited Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown in South Africa. Karen Bryant, who recently received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from GSU, wanted to have an authentic encounter with South African culture. “I wanted to have a firsthand experience with the people and institutions and gauge how the country was functioning post-apartheid”.  She holds the beauty of the country as a personal highlight. “Upon arrival, I was taken by the natural beauty. There were mountains, valleys, lots of foliage, sandy beaches and bodies of water. It was easy to see why people wanted to live there and control the country’s natural resources”. Karen was also deeply moved by the South African students’ focus and dedication. “The people who left the greatest impression were the students at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. The students are in the MBA program studying to become leaders in their respective fields. What I found most interesting about them is their desire to honor the past, find solutions to present problems while forging a future for every citizen of South Africa”.  

Another student participant, Devonna Walker, hopes to stay in contact with the students she met at Rhodes University. “They hosted a barbeque for us and we traded stories with them, learning that we have more in common than we initially thought. We exchanged Facebook information and plan to keep in touch. I enjoyed our time there”.

GSU students returned home with countless memories and photographs, however, student travel is not the only aspect of the Study Abroad program. Classes for the Sweden, South Africa and Italy abroad courses started in February of the 2016 spring semester and was a mixture of online and in-class meetings, also known as hybrid courses.

In addition to the faculty-led programs, GSU currently has students studying in Ghana and India for four weeks. Three more students will also travel to China in July with our partner school, Hangzhou Normal University. The study abroad participants will have the opportunity to share more in-depth about their once in a lifetime experience with the entire GSU community this fall at a symposium during the Study Abroad Fair in September and during International Education Week in November.  

If you want to study abroad, the Office of International Services can help facilitate the education abroad process for both GSU students and faculty. We also provide information for the parents of GSU education abroad students.

Each semester we offer programming to inform the GSU community about the latest opportunities and guide them in making their dreams a reality.  


Public Health Brigade - Nicaragua
Dates: January 4-10, 2017
Application Status: Open 
Contact Amy Schoenberg for more information.  




This section will assist GSU students that are looking to study outside the United States.



GSU faculty will find resources here regarding the planning, approval and execution of education abroad trips.



This page contains information for parents whose children will be studying abroad while at GSU.