Indiana State University Newsroom

Pact to provide new global learning opportunities

April 4, 2012

As Indiana State University student Michael Hickox learned about new opportunities to study in different parts of the world, one particular program caught his eye.

Though he was already planning a summer internship, he also wanted to take summer school abroad - a half-month long course on social entrepreneurship taught in Rome.

Hickox will be one of the first ISU students to study in a program offered by Leadership exCHANGE, an organization that provides international educational opportunities to students around the world. ISU and Leadership exCHANGE forged the agreement to create new educational opportunities for ISU students. After Hickox first learned about the program, he researched more and found the course that would teach him in an area that interested him.

"I was looking for something specifically that would just be a couple weeks, and so I found the Rome trip that was towards the beginning of August, and thought it looked really appealing," said Hickox, a junior from Casey, Ill., who is a finance and management double major.

The global study organization offers multiple different programs, with courses hosted in Rome, Prague and Panama City. The organization hosts several month-long leadership programs, which are then followed by separate two-week trips in early August.

Students participating in the programs will receive college course credit, though it varies by course; they can also combine programs for more credit.

The program is "a hybrid of some of those experiences that I participated in," said Brittany Faulkner, who graduated from ISU and is interning with the exchange organization. "I think there are areas of ISU, whether it'd be in the Scott College of Business, the ISU Foundation or the university as a whole that overlap with how our organization is run."

Faulkner, who was a member of the Networks Professional Development Program in the Scott College, has been working on the agreement. She studied in several different countries while attending Indiana State, and she also worked in the office of Janis Halpern, the study abroad program director, which has helped in getting various elements of the collaboration working together.

"I'm working primarily with ISU in developing not only this relationship," Faulkner said, "but some possible specialty programs with the university."Another ISU student, Jessica Deaton, was the first ISU student to apply and be accepted to the 4-week Rome program. The Honors student and nursing major even received a $1,000 scholarship.

"I am so very excited about this opportunity to study abroad in Italy," Deaton said. "I look forward to interacting with other cultures and developing the skills that I need in order to become a culturally sensitive leader and make a difference in my community."

Though the organization has existed more than a decade, the group is now looking to develop specific agreements with individual universities. The agreements could help create new programs, such as for the Networks Professional Development Program, Faulkner said.

Though many students at ISU already study abroad, the program quickly nabbed Halpern's attention. She was impressed by the different course topics, which include a class about women as change agents and human rights and international security, along with the realization that students from the U.S. will be joining people from around the globe attending the same classes.

"They are going to be with students from all over the world, all there for the same reason, which is leadership development," Halpern said.

The organization strives to maintain diverse groups in their class sessions, Faulkner said. She highlighted the 60 students attending a 2011 program in Prague represented 22 countries.

"Generally, if you're looking at going on study abroad program, it wouldn't be uncommon for a large group of American students to be transplanted into a new location, and the level of integration they have with other international students or even students from the host country in the classroom is going to vary, but it isn't necessarily common," Faulkner said. "Because we develop relationships around the world, our students are going to interact with students from various countries."

Faulkner attended her first exchange program from March 8 to 18, when the exchange hosted the Women as Change Agents course in Panama City.

Though the summer programs are rapidly approaching, several ISU students, including Hickox, have taken notice. Another ISU student planned on going to one of the exchange programs, which also include elements of experiential learning.

In the social entrepreneurship course this summer, Hickox expects to have the opportunity to speak with people who have been successful in businesses that have made tremendous social impacts.

"I'm really interested in the differences in doing business abroad as opposed to doing business here (in the U.S.), the different risks that are associated with it as well as the different rewards," Hickox said, "and I thought maybe that was something I could pick up from talking with these different professionals."

Applications are still being accepted for the 2012 two and four-week programs in Rome, Prague and Panama with scholarships available. Please contact Janis Halpern for more information.

Photo: (Submitted photo)Participants in the Leadership exCHANGE's Women as Change Agents program pose at the United Nations Information Centre. The program ran from March 8 to 18 in Panama City and featured students from around the world. The leadership organization recently entered into an agreement with Indiana State University to provide additional opportunities to ISU students.

Photo: (Submitted photo)Several members of Leadership exCHANGE's Women as Change Agents program pose with participants in a Panamanian culture dinner. The program ran from March 8 to 18 in Panama City and featured students from around the world. The leadership organization recently entered into an agreement with Indiana State University to provide additional opportunities to ISU students.

Contact: Janis Halpern, study abroad program director, International Programs and Services, Indiana State University, 812-237-3427 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or