By Jeniel Terrero
Professor Veronika Dolar of the Economics department is currently accepting applications for a two-week summer course titled, “The Transition Economies of Central Europe,” and, “The Former Soviet Union,” which will take place in Slovenia from July 1 through the 15.
Dolar, who is of Slovenian descent, said that she wants her students to grasp the concept of economic transition in a setting unknown to them. Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to get an education far beyond the classroom, according to Dolar. The cost of the trip is estimated to be $5,530, which includes tuition ($1,010 per credit), round trip airfare, and travel expenses.
Registration for the course, which has begun, will end on March 1. Students who participate in this course will see first hand how different government systems shape a country. “The course is about countries in transition, so when going to Slovenia, we’re going to focus on the changes that have occurred over the years,” Dolar said. “Its transition from a totalitarian regime to a free market economy is something that didn’t happen overnight, and something that is still being worked on [to] this day, which will be interesting to witness, especially doing in a very new and beautiful setting.”
For most of the trip, students will be staying in Velenje, Dolar’s hometown, which she said had a booming economy during the time that Slovenia belonged to Yugoslavia. During their stay, students will cover that topic, along with how the fall of Yugoslavia affected their booming economy. “We had a huge coal mining station, which was so important during the country’s development, but extremely bad for the environment. When we switched to the free market economy, we started to pay a lot more attention to the environment, so students will also see what kind of improvements have been done,” she said.
Students will witness the rebuilding of a power station right in Velenje, which, according to Dolar, is the biggest in the world and carries the most modern technology.
The description of the course (ECO 44), states that Economics prerequisites are not required, but Dolar recommends taking Microeconomics (ECO 10), or Introduction to Macroeconomics (ECO 11), if interested in the subject. “The course is really open to anyone. You don’t need a vast knowledge of economics because while being there, we will cover the many aspects of economics,” Dolar added. She wants students to participate in this program despite their majors or backgrounds, and believes the course will appeal to History, Political Science, Business Administration, International Relations, or Environmental Studies majors, since those are some of the other subjects that will also be covered in Slovenia.
As someone who was once an international student herself, Dolar said that she believes the course will be beneficial specifically for American students. “One of the reasons the university invests in international courses is to provide students the opportunity to gain a knowledge beyond their own culture. Slovenia in particular is a great country to experience this opportunity because it offers a mixture of backgrounds, and it’s also a safe country. When you go abroad, you analyze the improvements your own country can make, or the good things that your country offers that aren’t available elsewhere. Simply by going to another country, students will witness how they can evolve,” Dolar said.
There are many benefits for students who study abroad, according to Patricia Seaman, Director of Study Abroad at LIU Post. “It would be a long list to name them all,” she said. “But the general consensus is study abroad positively and unequivocally influences the career path, worldview, and self-confidence of students.”
Ileana Lado, a junior Psychology major, just returned from a semester abroad in London, which she says helped her become much more confident. “Studying abroad enabled me to learn so much more of myself that I wouldn’t have figured out if I didn’t participate in this program at this point of my life,” Lado said. “I believe that for any student, studying abroad [helps] to strengthen their values, beliefs, and embrace new concepts.”
If you have concerns about the long duration of a study abroad program for an entire semester, Lado supports joining a summer course as a good alternative, but with some caution. “Before doing my semester abroad, I contemplated on doing a summer course instead, but I discovered that financial aid [would] not cover my expenses if I did so, which I advise other student who want to sign up to keep in mind,” Lado said. However, because every student has a different case, it is important to contact Seaman to find out if you are eligible for financial assistance abroad.
A student who signs up for a full semester of Study Abroad will take 12-15 credits and will spend 15 weeks away from home in a different institution with different faculty. Students who register for the Slovenia course will gain three credits in just two weeks.
“In the case of the Slovenia course, it is one of the faculty-led Study Abroad courses. These courses are developed and led by LIU faculty,” Seaman said. “Because it’s faculty-led, I can guide students on learning or experiencing certain things that they probably won’t be able to do on their own,” Dolar added. “Although it only last 14 days, it’s a very intense course because you experience so many things in such a short time. This program is special because in a regular eco course, you can’t cover the things that students can witness and experience first hand as they are learning it.”
The course will also include a day trip to Venice in a ferry from Piran, Slovenia.
The program is limited to 25 students, and is offered on a first- come, first-served basis. Some assignments will be handed out before the course begins, which Dolar recommends getting done before departing, that way it will not pile up, and students will get the opportunity to enjoy their time abroad. There will also be a project assigned that students will have a month to complete after returning.
For more information on the course, students can visit its site at http://liuslovenia.weebly.com/, or contact Veronika Dolar directly in the Economics department of Hoxie Hall. Students can also attend any of the Study Abroad Office information sessions, or reach Patricia Seaman in the Winnick House at 516-299-2508.