For North­eastern Uni­ver­sity inter­na­tional affairs major Har­rison Craig, freshman year was a trans­for­ma­tive per­sonal adven­ture with a cul­tural immer­sion in a new country—an oppor­tu­nity he gained through Northeastern’s Pro­gram, an inno­v­a­tive first-​​year aca­d­emic and cul­tural journey that begins with a semester abroad.

Craig began his col­lege studies in the fall of 2009 at the Amer­ican Col­lege of Thes­sa­loniki in Greece, and says the expe­ri­ence has made him better pre­pared to nav­i­gate an increas­ingly global society. He says that also pre­pared him for col­lege life at Northeastern.

Having lived and studied in a country where I did not speak the lan­guage, I felt equipped to suc­ceed as a stu­dent, a pro­fes­sional, and an inde­pen­dent, resilient and capable indi­vidual,” Craig said.

The Pro­gram pro­vides first-​​year stu­dents admitted for the spring semester with an oppor­tu­nity to begin their North­eastern expe­ri­ence in the fall, at one of the university’s four partner insti­tu­tions, in Aus­tralia, Costa Rica, Eng­land or Greece. In the spring semester, stu­dents tran­si­tion to the Boston campus, and the credits earned abroad are applied toward their North­eastern degrees.

Since its 2008 launch, close to 400 stu­dents have par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram. The uni­ver­sity expects more than 300 stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate this year.

One of Northeastern’s core beliefs is that stu­dents should be engaged cit­i­zens of the world,” said Philly Man­tella, senior vice pres­i­dent of enroll­ment man­age­ment and stu­dent life. “ pro­vides a trans­for­ma­tive edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ence and unique oppor­tu­nity to gain global insights that pre­pare stu­dents for a richer aca­d­emic experience.”

Eng­lish major Jes­sica Cokins spent her first semester abroad in Aus­tralia through the Pro­gram. “I was ner­vous at first, but North­eastern hosted a pre-​​departure ori­en­ta­tion that helped me adapt to col­lege life and living in a new cul­ture,” she said.

Upon returning to North­eastern, Cokins recalls a smooth tran­si­tion. “The expe­ri­en­tial model of edu­ca­tion at North­eastern nur­tures an accepting cul­ture where stu­dents are always coming and going from all sorts of oppor­tu­ni­ties. I also found there are a lot of sup­port sys­tems in place and ways to reach out and get involved in the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Begin­ning this year, will be the pre­mier entry pro­gram for all stu­dents admitted for the spring semester.