Global kickoff to freshman year

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.