Kean Announces Travelearn Trips for Spring 2023 and Summer 2023 Semesters

By Tyra Watts | Published March 4, 2023

Kean University’s Spring 23 Travelearn | Credit: Kean University

Kean University’s Center for International Studies has four Travelearn trips for the Spring 2023 semester and two Travelearn trips for the Summer 2023 semester.  

Travelearn is Kean’s short-term study abroad program. It is where students can pursue their degrees while traveling to various parts of the world to learn about a specific topic. Students of all majors can apply to take part in Travelearn led by Kean faculty. 

According to the Kean University website, the Spring 2023 Travelearn trips are in Spain from March 3-10, the U.S.-Mexico border from March 6-11, Ireland from March 3-10, and Costa Rica from March 4-10. 

Meanwhile, on the CougarLink site, the Summer 2023 Travelearn trips are in Ireland and Scotland from May 22-30 and London from May 21-23.

According to Jessica Barzilay, director of the Center for International Studies, Travelearn can benefit students because it can broaden their horizons. Not only that but when seeing how things are done in certain places and working with people from different countries gives you a bigger perspective.

Barzilay provided an example of this by explaining how students were able to go on a trip to South Korea last summer, and they did not know what to expect. The students ended up loving the culture, people, and atmosphere, and now some of those students want to go back and live in South Korea and teach for a year, which was something that Barzilay did not expect.

Barzilay then went on to say that Travelearn not only shows us what other places look like, and how other people think, but she strongly believes that it changes the way we think about ourselves.  

“You have to be a little bold, you know, to go abroad with strangers to a place you don’t know,” Barzilay said. “And people come back feeling, ‘I did that, you know, who knows what I might do next’.”

She also adds that Travelearn looks good to employers on resumes and is very helpful for employability. 

With the way the curriculum is structured for students to learn within 5 to 7 days, Barzilay states that it is a little different, with some of the Travelearns being 1 to 3 credits, while others are paired with a course currently here at Kean. 

Zimmerman Park Clean-Up Flyer | Credit: Kean University’s CougarLink

Barzilay provided an example by explaining how she is taking the students on the Costa Rica Travelearn for the first time as a professor, and it is only two credits.  

“We have certain lectures beforehand, and we have a book we’re reading together,” Barzilay said. “And then when we go aboard, I work with the providers to have them include lectures that go towards that curriculum.”

Overall, most of the learning takes place before students go on the Travelearn.

Barzilay also adds that every professor handles it differently and that her Travelearn is a give-back abroad internship where students will be logging in on how what they’re doing impacts their careers. 

“The point of the class is bringing your values into any business that you do, like how doing good can be good business,” Barzilay said. “We’re doing service and meeting with companies that are for-profit and nonprofit.”

Barzilay then revealed that on Feb. 24, she and her students took part in a day service event called the Zimmerman Park Clean Up, where they cleaned up Zimmerman Park located in Union to give back to the community.

Barzilay and her students will also give back abroad and then compare the two. 

When it comes to funding the Travelearn trips, Barzilay says that if you’re going on a Travelearn during spring break (the most popular time to go) and you’re still under 19 credits, then for the credit/tuition part, it’s a part of your credit load, unless you’re overloading.

There is a cost to going on the Travelearn trips, but Barzilay stated that Kean launched a scholarship, Kean Students Go Global, that provides a decent-sized scholarship for students that are going abroad. 

“There are requirements for the scholarship that match the requirements for going abroad. It puts that scholarship in reach for everyone who is traveling,” Barzilay said. “It can defray, sometimes more than half the cost.”

Barzilay also added that students can use their financial aid to cover the cost of the Travelearn trip.

As for how many students are going on the Travelearn trips and if whether or not they don’t have enough students to register, Barzilay stated that they have over a hundred students that are going on a variety of Travelearns for spring break, and she compares the Travelearns to a class.

“It’s like a class: if you don’t get enough students, you don’t run the Travelearn,” Barzilay said. “We do registration early on and there are sort of two different things: you have to have enough students to run a class and you have to have enough students to run a Travelearn.”

Wenzhou-Kean University Flyer | Credit: Kean University

Barzilay also said that when pricing the Travelearns, they’re less expensive if more people go, so she and the Center for International Studies may require more people than a typical class to go to the Travelearn to get a cost structure. If they don’t hit the cost structure, they don’t go to that Travelearn.

As for the students who registered for the spring break Travelearns back in 2020 but weren’t able to travel due to COVID, Barzilay stated that while she doesn’t think there aren’t any students who have presented with this situation, she adds that as long as the students are still here and have not graduated, they can still register for other Travelearns.

She also mentioned that no one lost money on the 2020 Travelearns, and explained that Kean took that hit.

“Although we negotiated a great deal with our providers to help us, Kean immediately said ‘We will take the loss, we won’t pass it to any student,’ and then we negotiated for different credits and things for the university,” Barzilay explained. 

Although the students were not able to go on the 2020 Travelearns, Barzilay later disclosed that the Center for International Studies exchange program will return to Wenzhou-Kean this fall. 

“The good news is, as always, it costs the same amount to study and live at WKU as it does to study and live on our Union campus,” Barzilay said. “Kean is committed to giving students this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Students live, learn, explore, and become globalized citizens prepared to compete in a globalized workforce.”

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