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franklin county times

Russellville native Maleia Gist travels world for college credit

While some might be relaxing by the pool or working at a summer job, Maleia Gist from Russellville joined more than 700 other Belmont University students who participated in one of 45 faculty-led Maymester and Summer Study Abroad programs. 

Gist spent time in Belmont’s Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands program for college credit this summer.

With programs based in Australia, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Northern Ireland, Morocco, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania and more, Belmont students have the opportunity to learn in a non-traditional classroom by visiting historical sites and experiencing new cultures first-hand.

These short-term programs, lasting anywhere from a week to a month, are led and designed by Belmont faculty to explore one or two certain areas of study, while giving students the opportunity to travel to and discover a new place.

Belmont University director of study abroad Thandi Dinani said Belmont’s culturally-enriching study abroad programs enhance a student’s academic experience. 

“Classrooms come to life as faculty take students to visit places where history took place,” she said. “Whether visiting Nelson Mandela’s prison cell in South Africa, walking streets where Jesus walked in Israel or studying chemistry while taking a cooking class in Italy, students see how countries, concepts and cultures have shaped history and impact their world.”

Belmont’s catalog of study abroad opportunities grows every year, with new programs this year that include studying cruise industry entertainment operations by sailing to the Bahamas; learning about island entertainment, food, music and sports in Jamaica; experiencing folk culture, music and nature in Norway; and even touring iconic civil rights locations in the U.S. 

Other new-to-2019 programs took students to Ghana, Czech Republic, France and Germany, among others.

Popular programs among students returning for the 2019 year include the Hawaii Maymester month-long program, Belmont in South Africa and Tanzania, as well as the return of the Belmont at Bonnaroo program.

“We’re able to offer programs that accommodate a wide variety of students from different majors with different program preferences,” said Dinani, who credits strong faculty support for the growing interest in and diversity of study abroad experiences.

Ranked No. 6 in the Regional Universities South category and consistently named as a “most innovative” university by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont University is home to more than 8,300 students who come from every state and more than 36 countries. Committed to being a leader among teaching universities, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. 

The University’s purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs.