Professors make impact through their faculty-led programs


Courtesy of Michael McHan

Michael McHan interacts with an elephant in Chaing Mai, Thailand during his summer faculty-led program.

by Emily Caplan, Contributor

Students at San Diego State have the opportunity to travel to countries around the world through various programs. Of the faculty-led student programs, sometimes the most memorable parts of the experience are with the SDSU professors who lead them.

“I have grown more from traveling abroad than any class I have taken,” undergraduate advisor in the School of Communication Michael McHan said. “I think others often feel this same way.”

McHan leads a two-week long summer program that travels throughout Thailand. Students on this faculty-led program explore the nature of intercultural communication.

There will be a meeting Friday, Nov. 3 from 3 – 4 p.m. in Communication room 209 for those interested in this program.

“For a lot of people, many of their preconceived stereotypes are quickly broken and this usually provides great opportunities for self-reflection,” McHan said.

Business senior Trevin O’Cain studied abroad during the spring semester last year. He will be studying abroad again at the end of this semester through a faculty-led program.

“My favorite part about studying abroad was the easy access to travel and the fact that so many countries and cultures were so geographically close and easy to travel amongst,” O’Cain said. “I learned a lot about the different social and political views of the people in the numerous countries that I visited.”

All faculty-led study abroad programs are generally short-term from two to six weeks and have between 15 to 30 students.

The programs are typically held during the summer and are mostly coordinated by the College of Extended Studies.

William Nericcio, professor of English and comparative literature and Chicana and Chicano studies, leads a faculty-led summer program in London he calls “London Rocks.”

Nericcio said traveling with students is a special experience.

“It’s like I’m plugging into an extraordinary level of living, and not just through thought,” he said.

Nericcio said he, along with other professors who lead faculty-led programs, can feel the impact they make on students through these programs.

“Study abroad is like an instant metamorphosis,” Nericcio said.

Mchan said he enjoys returning to a place and sharing the experiences he has had with students for the first time.

“Traveling throughout Thailand always reminds me how money is not essential for achieving happiness,” McHan said. “In the states, there is often a strong belief that money equals happiness.”

All faculty-led programs vary by credits, countries and professors. To check out all faculty-led programs and destinations, visit the College of Extended Studies website.