Unprecedented Number of Mount Ida College Students Studying Abroad

March 26, 2014-


International travel is growing at Mount Ida College. This year, an unprecedented number of students traveled on four unique faculty-led programs abroad over spring break. Our commitment to international study, an important part of the educational experience here at Mount Ida, is championed through our Center for Global Connections.

Through the Center for Global Connections (CGC), spearheaded by Robin Melavalin, Director of Global Connections and Continuing Education, CGC continues to expand travel opportunities for students to include educational, career-focused and service-learning programs.

“We are in a transformative process here at Mount Ida, where faculty and students are beginning to experience international travel like never before,” says Melavalin.

Our recent growth in the area of international education prompted our announcement for further commitment to study abroad programs by joining 160 other U.S institutions in supporting the Generation Study Abroad Initiative through the Institute for International Education. By joining the Generation Study Abroad Initiative, Mount Ida is committing to significantly increasing study abroad participation numbers by the end of this decade.

Over the past several years, 29 students have completed semester long study in Italy, Chile, Australia, England, Spain and other countries. Currently, a student is in Florence, Italy studying interior design at Lorenzo De Medici.

This spring break, March 7- 16, 36 Mount Ida students and five faculty travelled abroad to experience new cultures, complete coursework and engage in degree focused real-world opportunities in  Ecuador, Belize, China and Costa Rica. In addition, in May, 14 of our students and two faculty members will travel to London, England to complete our spring 2014 study abroad travel programs.  Ninety percent of the students travelling abroad this spring received scholarships from Santander Brank and from Mount Ida through the CGC.  In 2013, we announced  our first collaborative agreement with Santander Bank’s Global Division, Santander Universities,  to allow the CGC to enhance its international travel study abroad programs, including offering financial aid to students who would not otherwise be able to participate in its international travel abroad programs.

Some of the highlighted destination activities for spring break study abroad travel are included below.

Vet Tech Lessons and Clinics in Belize  

This spring break, Mount Ida vet tech professors Dan Young and Kim Karolides, led a group of 14 vet tech students to Belize. Through the Institute for Sustainable International Studies, our group was provided with an in-depth overview of the current animal issues facing Belize, which left a long-lasting impression on all of our students.

“The view of animals in the Belize culture is very different than in the U.S.  Animals are not pets but guards. Most animals are under nourished and the resources to help are limited,” says sophomore Emily Baum. “There were many experiences that emotionally affected each of us and it made us grateful for the resources we are provided with at home.  We wanted to stay back and help those who cared about their animals but were turned away due to a lack of resources.”


Baum went onto to note that her experience in Belize was truly eye-opening and that many valuable lessons and skills for her field were gained.

“We covered many animals and spread education about neuter and spays – information many Belize citizens did not know,” recites Braun. “I personally assisted in multiple surgeries. We all got to use our clinical skills in a stressful environment quickly and accurately, giving me a whole new level of confidence in my veterinary technician skills.”

Other activities in Belize included a trip to the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic, exploration of the Xunantunich Maya ruin and snorkeling by a small island to learn about marine animals.

International Business Learnings in China

Liang Tang, associate professor of business administration, led 12 students to China for a study abroad experience that explored current international business trends and issues in the areas of economics and finance.

Highlights of the trip included a visit to Efutures corporation-a Nasdaq listed company, Jangho Curtain Wall Company, Yangjing Beer Company and Renmin University of China. In addition, our group participated in social gatherings with students from Beijing Humanities College, UIBE and Central University of Finance and Economics.


Immersing into the Chinese culture, our students spent time each day exploring sites such as the Forbidden City,  the Great Wall of China and also joined in on a traditional martial art class.

For more information on our Center for Global Education’s abroad programs, visit the center’s homepage.

For more information on Generation Study Abroad, visit their webpage here.