Online learners at Penn State set for study abroad in Ireland

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sixteen Penn State World Campus students will travel to Ireland in March for a course in their master of professional studies in human resources and employment relations degree, the first study-abroad opportunity the program has offered to online learners.

The course focuses on comparing employment relations in Ireland and the United States. The students will attend classes at Limerick University through its Kemmy School of Business, visit with human resources staff at several companies that have offices in Limerick and Dublin, and participate in cultural activities.

The students, who will be coming from the U.S., Germany and Sweden, will meet in Limerick on March 26.

“We believe the course will offer our online students an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills that are increasingly vital given the global nature of the economy,” said Antone Aboud, professor of practice and the online programs director for Penn State’s School of Labor and Employment Relations. “They’ll also have a chance to consider their study of U.S. employment policies and practices with those in a country that has seen a large influx of multinational firms over the past couple of decades.”

The students are spending the weeks leading up to the trip learning about Ireland’s history and culture, the European Union, and Irish human resources and labor policies and practices. When they return from the trip, they will write a paper reflecting on their experiences.

Anne Davis-Tressler, of Centre Hall, is one of the students who will go. She works full time in credit services for a credit union and hopes to use the experience in Ireland to help her with her job hunt when she graduates in May.

“For me, as I transition into the HR field, I hope to have a better understanding of international HR,” she said. “I would like to work in a larger company with international connections. I hope this class will do that for me.”

Trisha Everhart, a member of the school’s online program team, said students enrolled in the residential master’s program at Penn State’s University Park campus have had study-abroad opportunities in China and Sweden. The faculty of the program wanted to extend the same opportunity to online students by offering a weeklong trip during the spring semester.

“Creating a sense of belonging in an online environment can often be challenging,” Everhart said. “This is an opportunity for World Campus students to feel part of the larger Penn State community while achieving their academic goals.”

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information about the master’s degree.

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Mike Dawson

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Last Updated February 07, 2017