Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

New UT program allows incoming freshmen to begin studies abroad

Amara Lopez

Texas Global introduced a new program on Nov. 13 called “Take the World by the Horns,” which creates a new study abroad opportunity for “first-time-in-college students.”

The program, created through Texas Global’s collaboration with the Office of Admissions, allows incoming freshmen to begin their studies as a Longhorn along side 20-25 classmates at one of three locations: Seoul, South Korea; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Panama City, Panama.

Sonia Feigenbaum, the senior vice provost and chief international officer for Global Engagement, said the idea for the program began as a response to prospective college students who decide to take a gap year following their high school graduation and the decline of foreign language learning among students at universities in the United States.

“We are very well placed at UT-Austin with stellar students who are curious (and) are not afraid to try new things, open their horizons,” Feigenbaum said. “I thought, ‘What better than to look at Panama and have a course with Spanish immersion and culture? What about Korea? Denmark?'”

Feigenbaum said President Jay Hartzell’s 2022 University strategic plan focused on research areas in energy and the environment, technology and society and health and wellbeing, which influenced the selection of these three locations.

“Identifying locations that complement those areas of study was fundamental, and I think having international exposure in that subject matter is extremely unique,” said Education Abroad director Thomas Ward.

Along with language courses, Feigenbaum said students in the program will be enrolled in 12-hour coursework and hands-on activities and opportunities at partner universities, including Hanyang University in South Korea, the School for International Training in Panama and the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen, where current faculty and alumni are engaged in research.

“We have a very robust alumni group … (who) are also very excited,” Feigenbaum said. “It’s looking at internationalization from the perspective of you are going to be abroad, you are going to be learning, but you are going to be part of a broader Longhorn community.”

Since the program’s announcement, Ward said the Office of Admissions has received about 10,000 applications indicating interest. Jason Xie, a high school senior from Dallas, said their decision to indicate interest in the program on their admissions application to UT came from a longstanding wish to study abroad.

“My parents immigrated here, and I’ve had all my schooling in the U.S., but hearing them talking about their experience in college, … both in China and here, I wanted to see what the difference was (between) studying in the U.S. (and another country),” Jason said.

With plans to expand the program in the coming years, Feigenbaum and Ward said they are excited to see their ideas come to life and learn from the first experience next fall.

“Life is all about learning, so we’re going to learn, but we’re bringing our expertise, infrastructure, academics and everything you can think of to our respective inaugural cohorts,” Feigenbaum said.

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