The GO Difference
For Scott Manning, director of cross-cultural programs at Susquehanna, Stamatis’ experience represents the precise reason he and other faculty members began advocating for GO’s implementation nearly a decade ago. And now, as the first class required to fulfill the GO program prepares to graduate in May, Manning says he could not be more pleased.
“We’re out here in rural Pennsylvania, and the culture can be a bit homogenous, a bit sheltered, with many of our students coming from small, rural areas with very little racial or cultural diversity,” says Manning. “We wanted to expand that worldview, and GO has gone way beyond our expectations in doing just that. Students are blown away by their experiences, and frankly it often transforms them in remarkable ways.”
GO ISN’T JUST ANOTHER STUDY-ABROAD PROGRAM. Susquehanna is among only a handful of schools to mandate a study-away experience for all students, and the very architecture of the GO program is unlike any other.
For one thing, GO presents students with three distinctly different program options: GO Long, GO Short and GO Your Own Way.
“GO Long is what most people think of when they think about studying abroad,” says Manning. “It allows students to study abroad for an entire semester, and it’s a good experience for those who want to fully explore foreign cultures, countries and ideas for an extended period of time.”
GO Short, on the other hand, is for students who are unable to leave Susquehanna for a prolonged period or who find that the focus of a shorter excursion is more meaningful than a traditional semester away. These faculty-led trips—which can be taken abroad or to various locations in the United States—usually last two to three weeks and are embedded within a course and topic. For instance, a biology student may travel to Australia with his or her professor to study the flora and fauna of that country on site.
GO Your Own Way can be either short or long, and it allows students who have very specific interests to propose a self-designed cross-cultural experience of their choosing.
“For many of our students, this is the first time they’ve even gotten on a plane,” says Maria Finch, associate director of cross-cultural programs. “So even going to London or New Orleans for two weeks can be a major, major life experience. We are introducing a population to the world that just may not have had that opportunity otherwise.”