Indiana State University Newsroom

Criminology, recreation therapy students bound for Croatia

May 6, 2015

Eight Indiana State University students are wrapping up exams this week in preparation for some upcoming classes, only not in Terre Haute -- in Zagreb, Croatia.

The study abroad is part of an annual student and faculty exchange between Indiana State and the University of Zagreb, with each country alternating years for travel. The exchange offers students of both countries the opportunity to gain a different perspective on their field of study and be exposed to other cultures.

"I thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Dustin Tucker, a senior criminology and criminal justice major from Trafalgar, Ind. "I want to see another culture and how they act. And it's not too expensive with the funding; I figured I wouldn't be able to do something this special for the cost again."

Previously, the program, which departs May 14 for just under two weeks, has been exclusive to criminology and criminal justice majors; this year, however, they've added recreational therapy students to the mix.

Croatia, which recently joined the European Union, is eager to learn more about how social needs and quality-of-life issues are addressed in the U.S., especially related to those with disabilities.

"It's not just a learning experience for us, it's for them, too. We're from the U.S., and we're a little more advanced when it comes to certain things like accessibility," said Aric Bolding, a senior recreation therapy major from Martinsville, Ind. "They're using us to see what they need to make improvements on."

During the trip, criminology students will tour a medium-security prison in eastern Europe -- one with no fencing or guard tower, as you'd see in the U.S.

"Things are just different," said Lisa Decker, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice, who will accompany trip leader Professor Sudipto Roy, who has coordinating the exchange since it began in 2005.

"I guess they trust the inmates to not escape or run," Tucker said. "None of the officers have guns. So, it's definitely different. I hope to get some pictures."

"How close is that to where we're staying?" Bolding asked jokingly.

All of the classes are taught in English, which is a bonus for Croatian students wanting to further their language skills.

"They want to learn English in their disciplines," Chris McGrew, director of the Center for Global

Engagement at Indiana State, told the group in a recent planning meeting.

Bolding, who has never traveled outside the U.S. and been on an airplane only once, learned about the trip during a class with Professor Don Rogers, who is leading the recreational therapy students' part of the trip.

"I'm really excited to expand my knowledge of rec therapy and look at it from someone else's point of view," Bolding said.

The trip is sponsored by the Center for Global Engagement and is a great opportunity for Sycamores to develop relationships with Croatian students -- and gives them good talking points for graduate school applications or job interviews, McGrew said.

After graduation, Tucker would like to get a federal law enforcement job -- FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals. He said he knows it'll be a long climb, as professors have told him, "If you get there by 30, you'll be good."

For Bolding, he'd like to move west and work with children or veterans with disabilities. "You never know where your internship will put you. It'll be pretty interesting to see how it all goes the next couple of years," he said.


Contact: Sudipto Roy, professor of criminology and criminal justice, Indiana State University, 812-237-2198 or

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

Story Highlights

In the previous 10 years of the program, which departs May 14 for just under two weeks, has been exclusive to criminology and criminal justice majors; this year, however, they've added recreational therapy students to the mix.

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