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Southern Oregon University

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General Questions

By attending both of the three week summer sessions you can complete the program in 2.5 summers.  You can also choose one session per summer, and complete the program over five years, or any combination that adds up to a total of five sessions.

Southern Oregon University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Regional accreditation of post-secondary institutions is a voluntary, non-governmental, self-regulatory process of quality assurance and institutional improvement. It recognizes higher education institutions for performance, integrity, and quality to merit the confidence of the educational community and the public. Accreditation by a post-secondary regional accrediting agency also qualifies institutions and enrolled students for access to federal funds to support teaching, research, and student financial aid.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), based in Redmond, Wash., is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. It fulfills its mission by establishing accreditation criteria and evaluation procedures by which institutions are reviewed.

Core courses are taught in English since the great majority of the resources (texts and research) are carried out and published in English. Due to the exacting nature of the vocabulary and theory involved in these subjects (Second Language Acquisition for example) students appreciate that they are taught in the same language as the readings. 

We accept up to 6 credit hours of previous graduate work. The work must be completed within the past 3 years prior to starting the program, and approval of courses is not automatic.

No, however many of our students find that living with a host family is one of the most fulfilling parts of the program. Our students frequently form lasting bonds with the family, return to the same family each year, and have unique cultural and linguistic experiences. Beyond the obvious cultural advantages, living with a family is advantageous when you are studying in such an intensive program, as you don't need to provide your own meals, do grocery shopping, or take care of daily living responsibilities associated with your own apartment. We especially recommend living with a host family during your first year in the program, as it will help you get acclimated to the culture and adjust to the rigors of the program. If you do not wish to live with a host family, you will need to find living accommodations on your own.

Yes. However, the program is very intensive, with as much as 6 hours of class per day, and several hours of homework each night. You will need to bring someone else with you to take care of your children while you are in class and studying. In addition, although some home stay families might accept your family members at an additional charge, most students who bring their family choose to seek their own housing. Finding an apartment is your own responsibility.

Program Specific Questions

Guanajuato

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Southern Oregon University and the City of Ashland, Oregon (the site of SOU) have had a close relationship with Guanajuato for over 40 years. Ashland and Guanajuato are “Sister Cities” and share a number of exchanges between city officials and the community at large. SOU has had Student Exchange and Study Abroad programs with the University of Guanajuato since 1968.

Guanajuato has been named one of the top eight safest cities to visit in Mexico by Lonely Planet.  As in any city, however, you should take normal precautions.  Although many plazas have Wifi available, avoid taking out your computer or electronics on park benches.  Avoid walking home alone late at night through the tunnels or dark alleyways.  Taxis are very inexpensive ($3-4), so use them to be safe at night.  Make sure to lock your doors and do not invite strangers into your home.  

Yes. We suggest that you arrive at least 3 days in advance of the beginning of classes and, preferably, one week in advance. This will allow you to become acquainted with the city, find the best way to school and back, get to know your family, do some sight-seeing, and find your favorite coffee shops.

The most convenient arrival is the Airport in León (BJX). It is a 45 minute cab ride from the León Airport to Guanajuato. Other options include arrival at Guadalajara and Mexico City. These airports are about a 4-5 hour bus ride from the city of Guanajuato.

You may arrange to have your family or the UG van pick you up through our housing coordinator for $50 US.  If you decide to arrange for your own taxi from León, be aware that drivers from León sometimes get lost, as the addresses in Guanajuato refer to the alleyways (callejones), not the streets.   The prices at the taxi stand in the terminal are fixed to wherever you may be going. From Leon to Guanajuato the price for a taxi is about $50 US.

 

Guanajuato is located in the highlands of central Mexico. The elevation is close to 7,000 feet. You will be in Guanajuato during the rainy months. Expect brief but sometimes strong afternoon showers. There are also similar showers in the late evening. Usually within 30 minutes of the showers the sun comes back out and the streets dry up.  Still, you should plan on bringing a sturdy umbrella and at least two pairs of shoes so that you have one to wear while the other pair dries out.  The cobblestones can be slippery and treacherous, so avoid heels or shoes with slick soles.

While the temperatures are mild, when the sun is out, it can be intense. You will notice the shady sides of the streets are the most popular. Evenings can be quite cool, lowering into the mid 50’s.

Yes. In the downtown area, on the Plaza de la Paz, there is a 24 hour medical clinic. There is also a more modern hospital about 15 minutes away near La Presa de la Olla.  For a visit to the doctor the cost is around $25-30 US.

 

Students in the program have recommended you bring the following:

Technology: A laptop computer and flash drive are strongly recommended. The classrooms and home stays all have Wifi, and most assignments are submitted electronically. The university also has a computer lab available to students, but the hours are limited (9am-3pm).  Many students like using their laptops in class to take notes and view online materials. Most students also use their laptop for class presentations. If you have a Mac computer, you should bring a "mini display port to VGA adapter" which will allow you to connect your laptop to the projector in the classrooms. 

Telephone: A cell phone is not required or necessary while in Mexico, but can be convenient. Check with your provider about international plans; some can be expensive. You can also purchase inexpensive cell phones with prepaid minutes in Mexico. Another option is to use your smart phone in Airplane mode. You can't make or receive regular calls, but you can use the internet whenever Wifi is available, and also make calls using Skype when Wifi is available. All of the classrooms on campus as well as the home stays have Wifi.

Clothing: As indicated, summer temperatures in Guanajuato are mild, with average highs ranging from 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lows between 55-60. it can at times feel cool, and rainstorms are common. In addition to typical summer attire, students recommend bringing some layers (a light sweater, a rain jacket, an umbrella, extra pair of quick-drying shoes) for the wet weather.  Sensible walking shoes are recommended for the steep cobblestone alleyways.  Sunblock is recommended for the intense sun. 

Miscellaneous: Here are a few additional items students have recommended:

  • A credit card: Mastercard and Visa are the most common. An ATM card can also be useful for cash withdrawals.
  • A coin purse: cash is used more frequently in Mexico.  Many small shops (panaderías, etc.) as well as the market only accept cash.
  • A backpack or other comfortable bag for carrying your computer to class.
  • Small gifts for your host family.
  • Travel-size packs of kleenex; hand sanitizer.  Toilet paper is not always available in public restrooms in Mexico.
  • Ear plugs.  Guanajuato can be very noisy compared to U.S. standards.  Ear plugs can help you sleep through typical  neighborhood noise, such as dogs barking, roosters crowing, church bells ringing, bands playing, and firecrackers popping.
  • As mentioned, most assignments are submitted electronically, so you generally have limited need for printing and copying. These services are usually available to students on campus at the kiosk at the bottom of the stairs, but they generally close for a week for summer break.  Printing/copying are available at internet cafés nearby (Plaza del Baratillo/Calle Positos). Bring a flashdrive to use for printing.

    Syllabi indicating required texts will be available in late April or May. You should acquire the required texts prior to leaving for Guanajuato. In some cases, you may find online versions of the texts that can save you money and avoid carrying heavy texts with you as you travel.

     

    Students do much of their studying at home. On campus, there is an extra classroom reserved as a quiet study area for SLI students, or, weather permitting, you can study in the patio area.

    Guanajuato is a walking town and most students are able to get everywhere on foot. Some home stays are located further from campus and you may want to take a camión or ómnibus.  You will receive a student ID that will give you a discount on the bus system, as well as discounts to museums.

     

     

    Angers

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    The Oregon University System has been sending students to Angers for many years, and CIDEF has a long history of successful language programs, as well as a Master's degree in Français Langue Etrangère (FLE). SOU already has a strong relationship with UCO and CIDEF.

    The most convenient arrival is through the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. At the airport, you can take the TGV from the Charles de Gaulle TGV2 terminal to Angers St. Laud. It is a 2.5-3 hours train ride from Paris to Angers.

    We recommend you arrive the Saturday before the program starts. Your housing contract with a host family begins on that day, and that allows you a couple of days to adapt to the time change and the city before beginning classes. We also have an orientation dinner on the Sunday evening before classes begin. If you want to arrive earlier than Saturday, you will need to make arrangements directly with your host family, and may need to pay extra (or you can choose to stay in a hotel until that Saturday).

    Angers is located in the Loire Valley of France, which was a popular region with French royalty due to the mild climate. During the months of June and July, weather in Angers is superb, with plenty of sunshine, and high temperatures generally between 75 and 80 degrees, lows around 55-60. Temperatures remain fairly constant throughout the summer, with a relatively low precipitation.

    There are numerous well-qualified physicians in Angers, as well as pharmacies located throughout the town. Our program has doctors who are used to meeting with American students.

    Students in the program have recommended you bring the following:

    Technology: A laptop computer and flash drive are strongly recommended. The classrooms and home stays all have Wifi, and most assignments are submitted electronically. The university also has a computer lab available to students, but many students like using their laptops in class to take notes and view online materials. Most students also use their laptop for class presentations. If you have a Mac computer, you should bring a "mini display port to VGA adapter" which will allow you to connect your laptop to the projector in the classrooms. Bring adapters to allow you to plug your American computer into the round electrical sockets in France. If you bring other electronic appliances, make sure they can be used on a 220 system, or bring a converter to convert from the American 110 voltage.

    Telephone: A cell phone is not required or necessary while in France, but can be convenient. Check with your provider about international plans; some can be expensive. You can also purchase inexpensive cell phones with prepaid minutes in France. Another option is to use your smart phone in Airplane mode. You can't make or receive regular calls, but you can use the internet whenever Wifi is available, and also make calls using Skype when Wifi is available. All of the classrooms on campus as well as the home stays have Wifi.

    Clothing: As indicated, summer temperatures in Angers are mild, with average highs ranging from 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lows between 55-60. it can at times feel cool, and occasional rainstorms are common. In addition to typical summer attire, students recommend bringing some layers (sweaters, warmer clothing, a jacket, an umbrella) for the cooler times.

    Miscellaneous: Here are a few additional items students have recommended:

    • A credit card: Mastercard and Visa are the most common. You can pay your housing payment by credit card, as well as use it in almost any store. An ATM card can also be useful as some banks have limited or no fees for cash withdrawals using the ATM card.
    • A coin purse: cash is used more frequently in France in many small shops (boulangeries, etc.) as well as the market.
    • A backpack or other comfortable bag for carrying your computer to class.
    • Small gifts for your host family.

    As mentioned, most assignments are submitted electronically, so you generally have limited need for printing and copying. These services are not available to students on campus, but printing/copying stores are available nearby (Rue Bressigny). Bring a flashdrive to use for printing in these stores.

    Syllabi indicating required texts will be available in late April or May. You should acquire the required texts prior to leaving for Angers. In some cases, you may find online versions of the texts that can save you money and avoid carrying heavy texts with you as you travel.

    At the end of the program, if you want to ship texts or other books you have purchased home, you can send a 5kg box of books through the post office very cheaply. 

    Students do much of their studying at home. On campus, there is a library in the Palais, the building where we have classes, where students like to study during the day. However, the library is closed during the last two weeks of the second session, as most of the university shuts down at that time.

    Students are able to get to many places on foot. Some home stays are located further from campus and you may want to purchase a bus/tram pass from Irigo, the public transportation system in Angers. You can renew the Irigo cards using a cash or a credit card with a memory chip in the ticket dispensers at tramway stops to avoid going to the Irigo office. The city also has a system of free bike use; however, you normally need a deposit and verification of a bank account in France to use these bikes. Some host families have been willing to use their bank account, but you shouldn't plan on this.