Smart Learning at Northeastern University

Lisa Campbell Warren

Students follow roads less-traveled to global opportunities

Would you describe yourself as adventurous? Do you prefer to do your exploring "off the beaten path"?

If so, you're likely to find kindred spirits on most college campuses these days. A recent study shows that U.S. students are increasingly choosing less-traditional destinations when they study abroad.

Options for transformation

Northeastern University, in Boston, Massachusetts, prides itself on offering students in all majors a range of options–from more traditional to almost unheard of–in the form of semester-long, or even longer, international co-op and study abroad programs, as well as shorter term “Dialogue of Civilizations” trips.

NU President Joseph E. Aoun strongly encourages students to take advantage of international experiential learning opportunities, calling them “transformational.” Students who have participated agree, often crediting their experiences with increasing their independence, confidence, knowledge and skills, with regards to their academic pursuits and in general, as individuals in a global society. 

The last place on Earth 

NU fourth-year biochemistry student Corey Allard spent the fall 2010 semester studying the effect of global climate change on marine organisms in . . . Antarctica, of all places. Unless you happen to be a penguin, that definitely would qualify as off the beaten path!  

“There is a sense that it is the last place on Earth,” said Dr. H. William Dietrich, who directed Corey’s research project.  “And there’s so little that is known about it, that if you go there, you can make a meaningful contribution.”  Future explorers will enjoy and be inspired by this short—but truly amazing—video encapsulating Corey’s experience as an undergraduate research co-op student at Palmer Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula.


Northeastern has been providing adventurous students with co-op experiences for 100 years. The NEU co-op program includes more than 2,000 employers, ranging from multinational corporations to international agencies and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) across the United States and in 49 countries around the world. 

Northeastern University also appears in our post on the Top 25 Entrepreneurial Colleges.

Colleges and universities interested in having their school profiled for Smart College Visit's Smart Learning series are invited to read more and contact us here.

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