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Friday, October 25, 2013 - Study-abroad program gives OU student the time of her life
By Cynthia Weil, contributing writer

Hailey Brouillet, second from left, and fellow students in a CIEE study abroad program show off VIP passes that allow them to enter Dutch parliament buildings in the Binnenhof.
OU student Hailey Brouillet’s casual interest in study-abroad brochures led to a trip to Amsterdam and London this year, and the best experience of her life.

“I wanted a study-abroad program in my public health major that would provide credit toward my degree,” said Brouillet. “The CIEE seven-week Comparative Public Health Systems program to Amsterdam and London caught my eye.”

Although not a new concept, multi-location study-abroad program options are flourishing.

“The multiple-site program is increasingly popular,” said Prof. Brian Connery, director of the Oakland’s International Education Office. “It provides students with a way to look at a subject of study with a perspective of two or more countries.”

Brouillet explored health care issues from the Dutch perspective at the University of Amsterdam. Her study abroad group also traveled to London to research challenges facing the British National Health Service.

Brouillet, second from right, sits with fellow students atop Arthur's Seat, a dormant volcano in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“I was expecting to be nervous and when I arrived in Amsterdam, but was not. We had a four-day orientation that included group activities, dinners, tours of the area and canal excursions to become comfortable with the city and then get to know other students in the program,” said Brouillet. “The staff was friendly and made us feel at home.”

Students, who came from as near and far as Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, lived in a University of Amsterdam canal-side dorm and in an apartment in London.

“It was perfect having quaint Amsterdam as our first location for study abroad. London was a busy, fast-paced big city, and we were prepared to jump into its culture,” Brouillet said.

The program incorporated guest lectures and site visits into the classroom curriculum. Students completed 15-page papers for each program, and augmented their studies with weekend excursions to Barcelona, Rome and Scotland.

“CIEE is known for its activities outside the classroom and for its programs in health sciences and programs incorporating service learning,” said Connery.

Hailey Brouillet, second from right, and fellow students stand outside a castle in Edinburgh.
Oakland University is a new member of the CIEE study-abroad consortium, a non-profit, non-governmental international exchange organization that provides high-quality, academically rigorous study-abroad opportunities using the expertise of local professionals at all of its sites. Brouillet was the first OU to student complete a program.

“Hailey is a pioneer in using the CIEE program and we are looking forward to other students enriching their academic careers with this opportunity,” said Connery.

CIEE students can study abroad for a single term, full academic year or a three- to five-week summer program. Costs vary depending on the program’s location and duration. Students register for classes and pay tuition through Oakland University.

For those not interested in a seven-week study abroad program, OU’s Social Work program offers a 12-day Global Health Program through Florence, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam.

Brouillet’s experience had an unexpected life-changing impact.

“The study abroad expanded horizons much more than I ever thought it would. It made me want to travel, be more independent and eager to try new things,” she said.

The travel abroad group gathers outside centuries-old buildings in the Binnenhof.
“My favorite part of the experience was meeting the other students in the program and getting so close so fast.

Brouillet added, “I recommend that students go for the study abroad and don’t think about how costly it might be. Just go for it. It was the best experience of my life and I would not take it back for anything.”

For CIEE and general study-abroad information, visit oakland.edu/ie or the International Education Facebook page. To schedule an advising appointment, contact Shirley Campbell at campbel4@oakland.edu or (248) 370-2889.

For information about the OU Social Work program, contact program coordinators Scott Smith at smith218@oakland.edu or Maria Devoogd-Beam at devoogd@oakland.edu.

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with more than 20,000 students and more than 260 degree and certificate programs. To learn more about academics, achievements and events at OU, visit the news site at oakland.edu/newsatou and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.
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