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Unique Study Abroad Opportunity

October 18, 2019 | by Dylan Speer

Chicago Semester, a Briar Cliff University study abroad program gives students the opportunity to stay in the United States and learn the big city lifestyle while gaining real world experience and an education.

The program offers a unique opportunity to live in Chicago and intern for any field of study a student requires. Assistant Director of Recruitment, Communications and College Relations for Chicago Semester, Sara Chiang says, “Chicago Semester offers over 500 internship opportunities and a great way to build a students resume and expand their professional network.”

Once students are accepted into the program they will go through an interview process that places them with an organization for an internship. Once both parties come to an agreement, students are given a place to live in the city. This opportunity teaches students about the benefits and complexities of city life.

Spring 2020 Chicago Semester attendee, Rachel DeMoss says, “Chicago Semester provides an opportunity to gain experience at an internship I likely would not have the opportunity to pursue in this area.”

The fall and spring semester last 14-15 weeks. Students will spend 32-40 hours at their respective internships. In between those times they will be able to take courses to keep them on track for graduation. Briar Cliff students can earn up to 15 credits while knocking out their required internship hours required to graduate. Louise Paskey, vice president of student development and institutional mission, says, “It’s such a great thing for students to experience because an internship can propel you further in terms of your networking.”

The program has seen growth and success over the years. Celebrating 45 years in 2019, they have grown from six participating colleges to over 20 including Dordt University, Huntington University and Northwestern College. They have expanded the programs offered as well, such as the social work program added in 1992, the nursing program in 2003 and the launch of a summer session in 2015.

This program is offered to seniors, juniors and sophomores. There is a fall, spring and even a shorter summer session. Depending on where students are in their stride to graduation will dictate when they can and should consider Chicago Semester. Students who have some internship hours already may consider the summer session since it is shorter. This will also leave the spring and fall semesters alone for core classes.

To be a part of this program, students must have a resume to turn in and fill out the application. The application can be found on their website, For questions regarding the program, students can reach out to Mrs. Paskey.

Chicago Semester gives a unique meaning to studying abroad.

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