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NIU Study Abroad Office launches five new programs

January 28, 2008

NIU’s Study Abroad Office is offering five new faculty-directed study-abroad programs – two in China, one in India, one in Turkey and one in Thailand – for the upcoming summer term.

In addition, 13 programs offered during previous spring breaks and summers will continue in 2008.

The programs typically are geared for both undergraduate and graduate-level students at NIU and beyond. Students can earn three to six semester hours of credit. The NIU-administered programs provide a lower­cost alternative to a semester- or year-long experience abroad.

Here’s a look at the new offerings.

Robotics Manufacturing in China

Simon Song, a professor of mechanical engineering, will direct “Robotics Manufacturing in China.” The program will run from May 14 to June 4.

Participants will receive NIU credit in engineering and will be given the opportunity to work with faculty and students at host institutions in Harbin, Beijing and Changzhou. Professor Song will facilitate hands-on projects and lead lectures and discussions. Trips to the world’s largest tiger park, the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs are also planned.

The primary purpose of the program is two-fold. In the manufacturing area, students will gain a global view of the manufacturing industry by seeing and experiencing the massive vitality of China’s manufacturing industry. In the robotics area, students will learn theories of mobile robots and see advanced mobile-robot projects at Chinese universities.

In addition, students will have the opportunity to learn the culture of China, which will continue to be a dominant factor in the world economy.

Exploring Information Systems Application and Practice in China

Chang Liu, assistant professor in the Department of Operations Management and Information Systems, will direct “Exploring Information Systems Application and Practice in China.” Participants will receive NIU OMIS credit through the program, which will run from May 15 to June 4.

The program will provide a practical understanding of the dynamic challenges and opportunities posed by information technology (IT) in today’s highly competitive global business environment.

The program focuses on the various roles that information systems (IS) can play in an organization. Upon program completion, students will be able to readily recognize the circumstances in which various information technologies can be applied to meet business objectives. The students also will become sophisticated in issues of international culture by learning IS practices, policies and applications in China.

Students will learn effective ways of managing information technology in organizations, learn how to use information technology to compete in the global environment and explore information technology applications and practices through company visits. Program participants also will experience cultural and societal issues of economic growth in China and tour the cities of Beijing and Shanghai.

Biomedical Lab Science in India

Jeanne Isabel, associate professor of clinical laboratory science, will direct “Biomedical Lab Science in India,” scheduled to run from Aug. 19 to Aug. 29, with mandatory on-campus meetings prior to departure. Participants will receive credit in the School of Allied Health Professions and Communicative Disorders.

Students will learn firsthand about the health care system in India, health issues faced by the country’s people and health care delivery issues for clinical laboratory scientists and other professionals.

The on-campus component of the program will consist of three mandatory meetings to be held July 9, July 23 and Aug. 6. The meetings will include a series of lectures and assignments designed to prepare students for the program in India. A group presentation will be given following the overseas component.

The overseas component will consist of a cultural tour and tours of Delhi-area facilities that represent the continuum of clinical laboratory services. Students will attend and participate in the 28th World Congress of the International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science.

Nursing Care, Nursing Education and Health Care Systems in Turkey

Ayhan Lash and Judith Popovich, professors in the School of Nursing and Health Studies, will direct “Nursing Care, Nursing Education and Health Care Systems in Turkey: A Visit to Florence Nightingale.”

The program will run from June 28 to July 10, with an on-campus pre-departure meeting on Wednesday, June 25. Students will receive nursing credit upon successful completion of the program.

Participants will have the opportunity to explore emerging health care systems in a developing country, identify major public health problems and health care resources and compare North American cultural perspectives of health and illness with those in Turkey. Students also will explore the country’s historical and cultural influences on nursing education.

Another highlight of the program will be a visit to Florence Nightingale Museum in Skutari, Istanbul. There will be daily site visits to health care agencies and schools of nursing, as well as visits to local attractions such as the Topkapi Museum, the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

The Political Economy of Thailand

Political Science Professor Daniel Unger will direct “The Political Economy of Thailand.” The program will run from June 2 to June 22. Participants will receive NIU credit in political science upon successful completion.

Students will learn about the economic and political development of Thailand and experience what these abstractions mean for Thai people. Participants will spend about a third of the time in the capital city of Bangkok, while also visiting cities and villages in the north, northeast and middle south regions. 

Other highlights will include visits to open air markets, historical sites and museums. Participants will have opportunities to experience a traditional Thai massage, ride elephants and view the cutting of gemstones and the tapping of rubber from trees. They also will encounter a variety of hill tribes in distinctive dress and see ancient Khmer ruins, chili plantations and Christian churches dating to the 17th century.

The program director hopes to meet with and hear from Thai politicians and government officials, princes and architects, journalists and business people, as well as people working on slum development and other social and environmental projects.

Continuing Study-Abroad Programs

In addition to the new opportunities, the Study Abroad Office, along with various NIU departments, will continue to offer programs in Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ireland, England and West Africa.

Interested students are encouraged to visit Students also can visit the NIU Study Abroad Office in Williston Hall 417, call (815) 753-0700 or e-mail