CIEE Global Institute Grants for Spring 2018

The Towson University Study Abroad Office is excited to announce that we have received $30,000 worth of grant money from CIEE, and we want to give it to you!

CIEE is back at it again with generous scholarship opportunities! As a part of their Generation Study Abroad initiative, CIEE has pledged to award $20 million in scholarships by the year 2020. In order to meet this goal, they will be awarding scholarships for the 2017-2018 year.

Towson University pledged to increase the number of study abroad participants by 40% by the year 2020, and although we have already exceeded this goal (2 years ahead of schedule!), CIEE has offered us 6 grants in order to help continue this growth! These grants are specifically for students studying abroad on a CIEE Open Campus Program at their Global Institutes in Berlin, London, Paris, Rome, Cape Town, and Madrid.

These 18-week programs offer students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture while taking courses taught in English from one of five academic tracks: Business; Communications, Journalism, and New Media; International Relations and Political Science; Language, Literature and Culture; Health Science.

Open Campus Grants:

  • Six $5,000 grants to students attending 3 blocks at one of the six CIEE Global Institutes, or at a combination of 3 locations.


  • Must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Must be a sophomore by the start of the program
  • Must be studying abroad on a CIEE Open Campus Program at one of the Global Institutes in Berlin, London, Paris, Rome, Cape Town, or Madrid for 18 weeks in the Spring 2018 semester
  • Must have completed Towson’s Horizons application, and started CIEE’s application by the nomination deadline

INTERESTED? Students should visit the Study Abroad Office website and contact the TU Study Abroad Office at as soon as possible.

Application Deadline: FRIDAY, September 15, 2017

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Studying Abroad as a Student of Color

Thoughts from Brianna James, Peer Advisor.

Naturally, each student preparing to go abroad has their own set of concerns. As a student who’d booked their flight a day too early, had never been out of the country before, and had never even been on a plane, I think it’s safe to say I fit the bill. My biggest concern however, was the color of my skin.

With racial tensions ever present in the States, I have to admit that being a student of color is scary; especially for those of us attending predominantly white institutions (PWIs). While most students aren’t racist, we have to be aware that they could be, and be prepared to deal with these situations, God forbid they ever arise. So it only makes sense that these fears would be heightened at the the thought of studying in another country.

Your identity as a person of color is something that follows you wherever you go, so it makes sense to be concerned about how it will impact your time abroad. I looked back at my own experience and came up with some tips for other students of color studying abroad:

DO: research…but not too much. I didn’t have any friends or family that had been abroad, and at the time I felt silly admitting to others that the color of my skin was one of my concerns. So I did what any millennial with a pressing question would do…I went to google; like actually googled “racism in London.” Most of what I found were discussion forums, and while some stories were helpful, others were definitely less so. Interestingly enough, what I found most insightful was research into Britain’s history. It helped me put the country’s racial relations onto a timeline, and really changed my perspective.

DON’T: expect another person’s experience to parallel your own. Everyone’s time abroad is different. Don’t allow yourself to be immediately turned on or off by something someone else encountered abroad.

DO: brace yourself for horror stories. It happens. When I was abroad, a man came up to me in a bar and told me he hated black people. I was stunned and had no idea what to say. Fortunately the amazing friends I’d made abroad had my back, and responded to him before I even had the chance.

DON’T: let a horror story paralyze you. If for any reason you do have an uncomfortable encounter abroad, do not let it intimidate you from enjoying the duration of your program. Take time for self care and reconnect to your support system.

DO: and I absolutely mean do, be comfortable expressing these concerns prior to your study abroad experience; it’s more difficult to face them alone. When possible, reach out to other persons in your community that have already been abroad to get a feel for their experience. More times than not, it’ll ease your mind. If no one you identify with has been abroad, take your concerns to an ally; explain them in detail because talking can be quite therapeutic.

At the end of the day, studying abroad is one of the best decisions you can make as a college student. Worrying about your experience as a student of color abroad is completely valid and worth preparing for, but DON’T let it keep you from participating in the experience of a lifetime!

The Towson University Study Abroad Office partners with Diversity Abroad to offer resources and scholarships for underrepresented students. Interested in Study Abroad? Come to one of our information sessions, M-F at 2pm in PY 408, or email us at


CIEE Global Institute Open Campus Grants

The Towson University Study Abroad Office is excited to announce that we have received $50,000 worth of grant money from CIEE, and we want to give it to you!

CIEE is back at it again with generous scholarship opportunities! As a part of their Generation Study Abroad initiative, CIEE has pledged to award $20 million in scholarships by the year 2020. In order to meet this goal, they will be awarding $2 million in scholarships for the 2016-2017 year.

Towson University has pledged to increase the number of study abroad participants by 40% by the year 2020, and CIEE has offered us 8 grants in order to help us achieve this goal! These grants are specifically for students studying abroad on a CIEE Open Campus Program at their Global Institutes in Berlin, London, Paris, and Rome.

These 18-week programs offer students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture while taking courses taught in English from one of five academic tracks: Business; Communications, Journalism, and New Media; International Relations and Political Science; Language, Literature and Culture; Health Science.

Open Campus Grants:

  • One $5,000 grant to a student attending 3 blocks at CIEE’s Open Campus in Berlin
  • Two $5,000 grants to students attending 3 blocks at CIEE’s Open Campus in London
  • Two $5,000 grants to students attending 3 blocks at CIEE’s Open Campus in Paris
  • One $5,000 grant to a student attending 3 blocks on CIEE’s Open Campus in Rome

Global Scholars Grants:

  • Two $10,000 grants to students committed to living and learning in 3 of the 4 Global Institute sites in a single semester (Berlin, London, Paris, Rome)


  • Must have a 2.75 cumulative GPA for the $5,000 grants and a 3.0 cumulative GPA for the Global Scholars grants
  • Must be a sophomore by the start of the program
  • Must be studying abroad on a CIEE Open Campus Program at one of the Global Institutes in Berlin, London, Paris, or Rome for 18 weeks in the Spring 2017 semester
  • Must have completed Towson’s Horizons application, and started CIEE’s application by the nomination deadline

INTERESTED? Students should visit the Study Abroad Office website and contact the TU Study Abroad Office at as soon as possible.

Application Deadline (EXTENDED): FRIDAY, September 23, 2016

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Alumni spotlight: Chelsea Herskovitz

We’re always happy to hear from Towson Abroad alumni and Chelsea is no different. As you’ll see Chelsea is now working in the field of international education in nearby D.C. and we are excited to share her story!

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My name is Chelsea Herskovitz. I graduated from Towson in 2012 with a BS in Mass Communication with a Marketing Certificate. I’m originally from a small town in Pennsylvania that few people have heard of. During my junior year, I studied abroad in London over the winter mini-mester.

Q: What (or who) got you started on study abroad and how did you choose your program?

I always knew I wanted to study abroad but was skeptical because none of my friends were doing it. While my parents were supportive, they felt more comfortable if I somewhere where they spoke English. England was the obvious choice. I also knew I wanted to go over the mini-mester because I always found myself bored during the long winter breaks and this was a productive way to fill my time while also earning credits towards my degree.

Q: Did your experiences abroad met your expectations? Exceeded them?

My experience abroad, as cheesy as it sounds, was life altering. Prior to studying abroad, while I had some travel experience, I was always intimidated by being so far away, missing experiences here in the US and whatnot. But the adventure was eye opening. I was able to experience freedom and a new culture without the pressures of home. It gave me the opportunity to interact with other students at Towson I had never met and felt I could truly be myself. I was pushed to try things outside of my comfort zone and ended up loving (most of them).

Q: Your study abroad experiences were a large part of your time at TU. How have they affected your career path?

Once I graduated from college, I immediately was offered an internship that eventually turned in to a job offer. However, I hated the job so much and it had me living at home with my parents. I would go to work every day and be bored out of my mind. Eventually, I thanked them for the job offer and was happy to accept if they would allow me to take a month off to travel. With their permission, I booked my trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. On my 3rd day in Cambodia, I wrote to my boss requesting an additional 2 months off. Oddly enough, he gave me his blessing. I eventually ended up quitting the job and spending 6 months in Southeast Asia. While in Thailand, I interviewed and was offered a job a non-profit working with high school students interested in studying abroad. Without the experience with Towson in London, I never would have been motivated to go to SE Asia and eventually work for this company.

Q: Of all the places you’ve been, both study abroad and in your life after TU, do you have a favorite? Where and why?

Choosing a favorite travel destination is like choosing a favorite child. But I certainly have destinations I prefer but for different reasons. Vietnam makes it to the top of the list because of the history. I don’t remember ever learning about the Vietnam War in school, so it was very eye opening. Spain and Peru by far had some of the best and most creative foods I’ve ever eaten. But London always has a special place in my heart since I lived in a flat there and had the opportunity to live like a local.

Q: Many returned study abroad alumni speak about an “ah ha” moment or a particularly powerful memory. What’s yours?

I wouldn’t say there was one specific moment. During one of our free weekends, me and a couple friends booked a trip to Barcelona. I think the entire experience of going from one place where I didn’t know anyone to another, staying in a hostel, trying to use my absolutely terrible Spanish, and trying to maneuver the city was very eye opening to all the things I am capable of.

Q: What would you say to students about studying abroad?

I’m not going to lie, it’s an intimidating experience. To think about being so far away from your friends and family, the finances, the planning, lots of  new words and processes you’re not familiar with etc. etc. But you would have to search far and wide to find someone who either regrets their time abroad or wishes they didn’t do it. It is worth all of the preparation and work. In my job, I hear from students all the time about the cost of studying abroad and surely, it can be costly. However, you cannot measure the financial benefits you will receive from an experience abroad. Students gain confidence, intercultural experience, and knowledge some of their peers do not have; all items which potential future employers are looking for.

Matt takes on Europe!

Name:  Matthew Lenz

Major: Double Major in Business Administration: Marketing and E-Business

Graduation Year: Spring 2015

Hometown: Odenton, Maryland

Where I went abroad: City University – London, England

How I chose London

When I was in the beginning stages of the study abroad process, I was able to narrow my options down to three countries; Australia, Spain and England. I liked that Australia and England were English speaking countries. If I chose Spain I was committing myself to a Spanish culture and language on a daily basis. I only have 3 high school years of Spanish under my belt, so I was leaning more towards Australia and England. The Australia program was more expensive than the London program. The biggest draw to London for me was Europe. I knew that if I studied abroad in England, I would be able to easily travel to various countries in Europe.


My Special Day

Another draw to England was the English Premier League. I have been a Chelsea FC fan since I was a young boy. When I was growing up, my only connection to my favorite club was FIFA (a video game) and weekend games. I never imagined myself sitting at the game with thousands of other Chelsea fans.

The tickets were incredibly difficult to acquire. I ended up going to the game with a friend that I met in London.  His name is Christian and I met him in one of my classes. He lived in the UK and through his connections was able to get me and my roommates some tickets.

The day before the game, I could not sleep. I had over 10 years of excitement built up and tomorrow was the day that I would finally get to watch my favorite soccer team play…in London…at Stamford Bridge…it all seemed surreal.

Our seats were located in the Shed End (south) and I was 7 rows away from the pitch. One of my role models and favorite players (Frank Lampard) was 10 yards away from me. Chelsea ended up winning the game against Stoke City 3-1. I must have taken at least 100 pictures throughout the game and cheered until I had no voice. It truly was a special day!



My Trip to Spain

When I decided to study in London, traveling in Europe was very important to me. One of the places I was able to travel to was Spain, but I didn’t know I’d spend the night in the Barcelona airport or travel on a ferry with Spanish soccer fans during the biggest rivalry game in the country.

My roommates and I flew from Nice, France to Barcelona and then we were supposed to take a bus to Valencia (We had it all planned out in the cheapest way possible). However, our reservation, for whatever reason, did not go through. So there we were in Barcelona’s airport at 11 PM. We tried renting a car, finding a different bus or even looking for a last minute flight. Our only option was a train that left at 8 in the morning.  Being paranoid American travelers, we took shifts staying awake to “guard” our luggage.  Needless to say it was a long night….however we did end up saving money!

My journey from Mallorca to Barcelona was very interesting. We took a ferry, which we soon discovered was a very local way of traveling. The chaos all began when our non-English speaking cap driver dropped us off at the wrong boat. After waiting in line for 20 minutes we realized that we were in the wrong place and we only had 15 minutes until our ferry left without us. There were no taxis in sight and only 1.9 miles (according to google maps) to the correct location. My roommates and I then proceeded to sprint to the ferry, carrying all of our luggage. We made it there just in time, they were about to close the ramp to board.  My two American roommates and I were the only non-Hispanic people on the ferry and we were dripping in sweat. On the boat, El Clasico was taking place (One of the biggest rivalries in all of the sports world: Barcelona Fc vs Real Madrid Fc). There was a ton of yelling, screaming and angry Spanish men arguing all night long. It was certainly interesting!

These events were definitely not planned but looking back it made my study abroad experience even better. I loved Spain and I thought it was one of the best places that I traveled to.


Every student has this opportunity to study abroad and I think every student should take it.  Studying Abroad changed my life. I work in the Study Abroad Office at Towson University to assist students so that they can have this opportunity as well.

Being a Tourist in London When Royalty Is Born

This post was originally shared on the AIFS blog.

Prince George Alexander Louis, Son of Prince William and Duchess Catherine, was born on the twenty-second of July, summer of 2013, and at the time of his birth, I was casually chatting with a group of Australian cricket players outside of Kensington Palace in London, England.

When my two best friends and I decided to study abroad in London through AIFS, we didn’t plan around the upcoming birth of the United Kingdom’s newest prince, however, it ended up being one of our greatest memories and cultural learning experiences.  At that point, we had already been in London for two weeks and were aware of Kate Middleton’s due date.  Actually, I was constantly updated every morning by my best friend who has an obsession with William and Kate and the entire Royal Family.  First thing every day, even before the proper amount of coffee, she was inspecting the online news to check the status of the pregnancy, but with the conclusion of our time abroad around the corner, we were beginning to think we’d miss it completely.

So on July 22nd, we decided to stroll through Kensington Park after dinner and enjoy one of our last nights being charmed by the beauty of London.  We took a break on a bench to watch a cricket game, because after all, cricket is a foreign and strange sport to us Americans and fascinated us.  Long story short, a few of the lovely Aussie fellows decided to give us some company and we stuck around to hear their stories and exchange ours.  One of the boys checked his phone during our conversation and casually stated that Kate had her baby.  Cue emotional freak out by my crazed best friend.  She began running, skipping, and leaping around, shouting that the prince was born and crying tears of joy.  This is where our cultural confusion first began.  As we were celebrating, we were also informing some of the passer byers who were walking by, and to our surprise, nobody cared.

Most of the responses we got in return of the good news were lackadaisical and apathetic one-word answers or blank expressions.  We assumed that the British would be elated at the birth of their newest prince!  That clearly was not the case because even the next day, it still was not a huge deal.  Of course, at the request of my friend, we went to the convenience store and stocked up on all of the newspapers and magazines headlining the birth.  I think that all of the other tourists in Kensington had that same idea that morning.  We choose to buy those newspapers as souvenirs and historical keepsakes, while the locals were buying for the weather forecast or the story on page three.

Per tradition, the golden easel was placed outside of Buckingham Palace with the birth announcement on it, signed by the royal doctors, and of course, we went to see it.  Once again, tourists filled the outside gates of the Palace and were lining up just to get a peek.  Guards were ushering the crowds and only allowing for a quick picture and then you had to be on your way.   In addition, it has also historically been the case that the name of the new royal baby is not released to the public for a few days to a few weeks, but lucky for us, Prince George’s name was announced while we were still in the country.

After bike riding through the gardens, we stopped at Kensington Palace to see why people were crowding the gates.  Turned out, someone spelled out George’s name in boxes of baby powder on the grass.  We spoke to a British woman that evening and asked her why the locals didn’t seem to be as excited as the tourists.  She explained that it just isn’t a huge deal to them and compared it to our reactions to the President and his family, which made a lot of sense.


The Prince’s name written in baby powder boxes.


This really exemplified cultural variations in the public and media response to a pop culture event like such.  Friends and family back in the states were being bombarded by the news and it remained a vital part of the media for a few days.  But regardless of resident reactions, it still remains one of the highlights of my study abroad experience and I can certainly say that businesses and souvenir shops made a good deal of money off tourists and their infatuations with the Royal family.  July 22nd was just another day for most of the British, while I will always remember being right next to Kensington Palace when I received the news of Prince George’s birth.

Now Will and Kate are expecting their second child, and my friends and I want to find a way back to London for round two of royal baby celebrations. 

Written by student Bianca Auriemma.

Towson Abroad: On-Site in England & Scotland

This post comes from our Associate Director Kelly Holland who recently visited our partner schools in England and Scotland. Be sure to scroll down and check our her beautiful pictures at the end of the post!

This past July I was fortunate to visit ten of our partner schools in the United Kingdom. From central London to northeastern Newcastle to coastal Dundee, I got a firsthand look at the universities where our students study and the cities they call their home away from home. Below you’ll find just a few details about the schools I visited, and some photos .. of course.


In the city of Leeds, 2.5 hours north of London, I visited two of our most popular schools: Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University. Leeds is delightful city – walkable and winding through both campuses and home to the Grand Depart of the Tour de France this summer! Both schools have a wide variety of coursework available and modern, exciting facilities. Leeds Uni would be best suited to a student looking for a campus feel in a city location and Leeds Met is a great exchange option for our in-state students.


In London there are many schools that we work with, but two I visited in particular. One being Middlesex University where TU students can study for a full academic year on exchange, and the second being the AIFS campus of Richmond, the American International University in London. Both are small, compact campuses, Middlesex north of the city and full of international students and Richmond tucked into one of my favorite neighborhoods: Kensington Gardens, smack in the middle of London. AIFS Richmond is a great fit for students looking for electives in short or long term programs and Middlesex is an inexpensive option for the long haul.


Traveling to Northeastern England by train was beautiful, and the cities of Newcastle and Sunderland are well connected by train and metro. Newcastle University has an urban feel and is tucked into the city with a population of 21,000 students. Newcastle is highly ranked in the UK and has a variety of coursework available to TU students.


A short metro ride from bustling Newcastle is University of Sunderland, a truly creative space. Home to one of the only on-campus radio stations in the UK (so they say) SPARK Sunderland is home to radio, television and journalism students. With two campuses (City Campus and St. Peter’s Campus) within walking distance of each other, students can appreciate the city and the university. I was most impressed by the Sports Science facilities including a large technical space for biometrics testing, as well as the National Glass Centre which is open for students and the public alike. Fantastic option for exchange!


One of my new favorite cities in the UK, Exeter sits in the southwest of England, a 2.5 hour train ride from London. The campus is up on a hill overlooking this classic English town and Exeter University is ranked among the Top 10 in the UK. With a mix of old and new buildings across campus I really enjoyed the student union (Forum). Full of resources, activities, food and student support it is a bright, open space where students can learn, relax and meet up. This is a great choice for exchange!


While the city was preparing for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, I snuck in to visit Strathclyde University. Towson also partners with nearby Glasgow University, just outside the city center. Strathclyde is an urban campus, with buildings in and around a bustling city center. Strathclyde’s Business School is triple accredited, including accreditation by the AACSB (just like Towson) – which is a great match for our students. The science facilities are tremendous with plenty of research spaces and labs for both science and computing. A good find for a Business student or a STEM student.


With Edinburgh castle looming at the top of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Napier University is home to three campuses: Sighthill (Health, Life and Social Sciences), Craiglockart (Business School) and Merchiston (Engineering, Computing & Creative Industries). Students can take courses across the campuses and most recently we had a TU student studying in Business and Communications in this historical gem of a city. Another solid choice in Scotland.


Hanging onto the Northeastern coast of Scotland is the city of Dundee and Dundee University. This is a small university with 18,000 students and a curriculum well known for medicine and sciences. I would not consider this an urban campus as the area is very quiet and the campus is contained in one area. This campus is good for a student looking for a more community feel.

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Towerlight Column Fall 2014: On Site in London

We are proud to have another study abroad student writing for the Towerlight this semester about her time abroad! Sydney Adamson is headed to the American International University in London, UK. Before she heads out, we had a chance to ask her a few questions!

Big Ben

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! My name is Sydney Adamson. I’m double majoring in General Design Studies and Mass Comm: Journalism, graduating in 2015. I’m originally from Sykesville, MD and during the fall 2014 semester I will be living and learning in London, England through AIFS Abroad.

Q. Why did you choose your location?
I decided to study in London because I’m very interested in all the culture and opportunity that the city holds. There is a lot of amazing music coming out of England as a whole and that’s something I’m very into as well since I’m working toward becoming an entertainment journalist. It doesn’t hurt that I speak the language, either…

Q. What’s that #1 bucketlist item you are most looking forward to?
I’ve always wanted to live in another country, so just living in London checks one thing off of my bucket list. I’m also looking forward to traveling to other countries, like Ireland, France and The Netherlands. It will be super easy to access those countries since I’ll already be in England and they’re all on my bucket list of places to visit.

Q. Is there anything you’re worried about?
When it comes down to it, I’m most worried about money. I’m not the best at sticking to a budget but I will be setting myself a weekly limit and hopefully I’ll stay true to it. Wish me luck!

Q. Anything else you’d like to add about your upcoming adventure?
I know that the 3.5 months I spend in London will be unforgettable no matter what and I’m so antsy to see just what they have to offer. I’m so pumped to share my adventures with my study abroad column, too!

Sydney Adamson

Sydney Adamson

England: London’s Wasps Rugby Game

Today we traveled via the “tube” and by train to watch an English Rugby Game. (We are all becoming quite good at navigating through the underground)The game featured London’s Wasps and another semi local team from Bath. We arrived and were immediately greeted given an official Wasp scarf/lanyard, and taken on a tour around the facility. As a group we toured what would be the equivalent of the visiting and home teams’ locker rooms, the suites, were taken through the tunnel onto the actual field, and got taken into the room that housed the Wasps’ glorified trophies. We even got to take a photograph with the teams’ mascot on the field prior to the start of the game.

London 1

The stadium actually holds 2,000 less people than Johnny Unitas Stadium and their suites were certainly not as extravagant as we would expect to see at home in the states. It was definitely interesting to see the difference in complexity between a stadium in the United States and one here in London.The game we attended today was televised. The community relations tour guide warned us that there may not be a large turnout, as when games are televised fans tend to stay home and watch the matches from the comfort of their own homes. There is a recession going on in London as there is in the United States and it is cheaper for people to watch the game from their homes. Despite the recession and the forewarning, the particular match we attended was packed.

London 2

It took awhile for us to catch onto the sport, but it was very entertaining and proved to be a great deal of fun. The Wasps made a great come back in the first half, consisting of 40 minutes, after they were down by about 10 points. The crowd was very engaged the entire time which truly emerged us in the English culture. The Wasps won the game, making it even more exiting to attend! I made sure to buy scarves and hats to bring home to my family and friends.

London 4

Danielle Rust

Sports and Industry in the United Kingdom

Minimester Program, January 2013

London, England