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Ireland Professor talks student exchange, internship opportunities


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Dr. Michael Harrison from The Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland speaking about a study abroad opportunity in the College of Health Professions room 1255 on Nov. 17, 2015.

A representative from the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland spoke to undergraduate and graduate classes in the health sciences Nov.17 and Nov.18.

Michael Harrison, Head of Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science at Waterford spoke to students about the opportunities of student exchange and research. He spoke in assistant professor Paul O'Connor's Basics in Health Fitness class to students interested in exercise science, physical training or other health sciences.

"The university offers a variety of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs for students," Harrison said. "In the department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science there are 650 students and 33 faculty. Many students come from all around the world to the institute to pursue one of the 250 programs we have to offer."

Waterford Institute offers accommodations for international students both on the campus and close to the cities center. Harrison also discussed the cost of living which is around $90 per week. The international office at the Institute organizes trips around the city for international students and works to create a community where students can relate.

Harrison further discusses the Health and Exercise studies, which is a four year program that focuses on exercise psychology, nutrition and more.

"We aim to promote health and physical activity within our students," Harrison said. "We work on motivational interviewing and interpersonal skills while promoting physical activity and environmental health. There are classes that emphasize to physical training by strength conditioning, group exercise and programming."

One thing that Harrison wanted to highlight that Waterford offers external accreditation and international opportunity.The programs offered at the Institute include a one semester internship and have a strong focus on research during the four years a student is there.

The institute is working with the Office of International Affairs at Central Michigan University to put a partnership in place. The student exchange would include students being able to sit in on classes at Waterford and vice versa. According to O'Connor the idea is to have students exchange for one semester and be able to experience education from a different perspective.

"We're most keen on doing a student exchange type program," Harrison said. "I believe it's important for students on both sides to be able to experience traveling and learning in a different environment. We have been meeting with the Office of International Affairs but there is a process we must follow for the logistics and matching of curriculum."

The relationship between Waterford and Central started with Harrison presenting at the American College of Sports Medicine conference. He met with some faculty and researchers and has worked on publications with graduate students from Central. Harrison has been a direct link with universities in Ireland and Central, including working with O'Connor in research on exercise and cardiovascular health.

Harrison hopes to have the student exchange program open to students by the fall of 2016 but this date has not yet been confirmed.

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