The UIS Global Experience Program

Map of the World View Content

UIS continues to extend its vision beyond the boundaries of Springfield and Illinois in order to better prepare its students for their local and global responsibilities.

The Global Experience Program has included UIS study abroad seminars and exchange programs as well as programs administered by other universities and educational institutions. UIS has developed short-term study abroad programs in Australia, Botswana, Canada, China, The Gambia, Germany, Greece, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Poland, Romania, and the United Kingdom.

In her SJR Column “Study Abroad,” Chancellor Koch said:

“In a world of growing interconnectedness, studying abroad is becoming an increasingly important part of the university experience. A number of studies on the impact of study abroad have shown benefits, including improved academic performance and higher graduation rates.”

All 2015 Global Experience Students

About the Program

Global Experience ProgramInternational Programs at UIS is part of a global web of communication, travel and trade. As a public affairs institution dedicated to serving the needs and aspirations of the people of Illinois, UIS continues to extend its vision beyond the boundaries of Springfield and Illinois in order to better prepare its students for their local and global responsibilities.

UIS has developed short-term study abroad programs in several different countries around the world and continue to develop new programs to add to our yearly offerings. For the summer of 2015, there were several study abroad programs offered, including:

Global Experience Program Alumni, Class of 2015

Isabel Ly Payia

Alumni Isabel Ly PayiaIsabel Ly Payia, a biology major with a pre-med focus, and minoring in chemistry, always wanted to study abroad. Thanks to financial assistance at UIS, she had the opportunity to when she traveled to South Korea and Japan.

“I chose to study in South Korea and Japan because growing up, both cultures were very prevalent in my childhood and culture,” she says. “I wanted to compare different Asian cultures with my own Hmong culture, and thought it would be an enriching experience.”

John Billimack

Alumni John BillimackJohn Billimack, a UIS graduate student in history who hoped to work in a museum and perform his own research, chose to study abroad because he believed it could give a tremendous amount of perspective and appreciation for the world around him.

“South Korea and Japan are both countries with beautiful and rich histories, as well as fantastic and unique cultures,” he says. “I know that when I go, I will learn a lot and have the trip of a lifetime.”


Whanhee Park

Alumni Whanhee-ParkWhanhee Park, an international student from South Korea studying at UIS, spent time in Japan as part of the UIS study abroad program. He believes studying abroad is a unique opportunity to learn while being fully engrossed in a new culture.

“I believe that this trip to study in Japan will expose me to the cultures of Japan that I missed as a child and equip me with the knowledge needed for a successful future,” he says.


Lorah Hoe

Alumni Lorah HoeLorah Hoe chose to study in Northern Ireland because of their conflict transformation studies. The conflict transformation studies takes a look at Northern Ireland’s most recent history during conflict but also peace. She chose Northern Ireland to better understand how peace can be achieved in other countries all over the world.

“I am studying abroad to experience life through a foreign community”, she says. “When a student gets the opportunity to study abroad, it changes their personal involvement within their own community back at home. Experiencing the world through travel and studying abroad allows a person to really get to know herself and discover what is important to her.”

Aashay Chavan

Alumni Aashay Shavan
Aashay Chavan took finance courses in Milan, Italy. A graduate student in Public Administration, he chose to study in Milan because he started learning Italian and thought what better way to absorb the language than to live in the country. He also wanted to attend the World Expo in Milan.




Rebekah Lange

Alumni Rebekah Lange
Rebekah Lange, a communications major and history and theatre minor, spent the summer in London at the University of Roehampton. She’s wanted to visit England since she was fourteen-years-old because of the history and culture to be found there. When she learned about the study abroad opportunity at UIS, she grabbed it.




Jennifer Hickey

Alumni Jennifer HickeyJennifer Hickey, a social work major, spent the summer in Heredia, Costa Rica. She is interested in child and family services, and chose to study abroad so she could immerse herself in a new culture, and expose herself to different child rearing and parenting practices.

“I’m hoping to improve my Spanish, so that I can communicate with future Spanish speaking clients.”



Biniyam Melesse

Alumni Biniyam MelesseBiniyam Melesse spent part of his summer studying in Be’er Sheva, Israel. A graduate student in the UIS Public Health-Environmental Health program, he chose to study abroad because he wanted to broaden his perspective in terms of public health.

“Studying abroad will help me to be a culturally competent public health professional that will address urgent public health crises that are shared across borders.”

Global Experience Program Alumni, Class of 2014

Many students finished their 2014 study abroad experiences before the start of the new academic year. For those who took the opportunity, they returned with new friendships and a more nuanced way of looking at the world.

Citizens of the World
Top row, L-R: Dexter Burns – Mexico; Shelby Bedford – China, South Korea, Japan; Hannah Cave – Finland; Hunter Westbrook – Japan; Kerry Portillo-Lopez – China. Bottom row, L-R: Matt Dobill – Argentina; Bridget Donley – The Gambia; Ryan Walsh – Australia.