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Studying Abroad: Taking Students Out of America and Into the World

KEENE, N.H. 9/21/04 - It’s a big world out there, says Marché Brown, director of the National and International Exchange Center. And she intends to see as many Keene State students as possible expand their horizons by studying abroad.

Overseas experience and study is an important part of Keene State’s liberal arts mission, Marché explains. “There’s nothing else I know that students can do during their college years that will so transform their world view,” she says. “International study teaches you about yourself as well as about the world.”

Michel Armiento, a KSC graduate in English and information assistant at the Center, agrees. According to Michel, who spent her sophomore year studying in England and one semester of her senior year in Switzerland, studying abroad not only allowed her to take courses that weren’t available at Keene State but taught her about her own nationality. “You get a view of what it is to be American from the outside,” she says. “You’re exposed to other people’s news and views of America, and, for some students, it’s the first time they’ve had to think about the American political arena.”

More than 200 Keene State students study abroad each year in about 20 countries. Many students spend a full year, or at least a semester, abroad. The Center hopes to increase these numbers, says Marché, by expanding international program opportunities for students and working more closely with faculty and students groups that already offer overseas trips.

Another goal, says Marché, is to put the idea of studying overseas in front of students as often as possible. In the spring, the lawn outside the Student Center will be transformed into a study abroad fair. Students will be able to find out more about the institutions Keene State has direct exchange relationships with, as well as the consortium groups the College works with to place students in programs not directly offered. Students, staff, and faculty who organize overseas trips will also be invited to participate.

Marché, who joined the center on July 1, completed her French language studies at the Université de Paris, Sorbonne, France, and Arabic language studies at the Institute Bourguiba des Langues Vivants, Université de Tunis, Tunisia. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in French from Columbus State University, and her master’s degree in international relations from the University of Kent, Canterbury, England. Marché’s most recent positions were at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., where she served as director of the Office of International Affairs, and at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mass., where she served as assistant and associate director in the Office of Global Programs.

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