updated 10/26/2010 12:16:46 PM ET 2010-10-26T16:16:46

NORMAN, Okla., Oct. 26, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In the past decade, the number of students studying overseas has grown exponentially. Although study abroad experiences have always thought to be "life changing," recent studies have confirmed this. The findings show that studying overseas enhances a student's academic experience and is a source of personal growth and development whose impact endures long after they graduate from college. The University of Oklahoma has always offered its students a variety of study abroad opportunities, but there were very few international experiences available that were specifically designed for business students. Recognizing this need, the Price College of Business established its own Study Abroad Program in 2008. The program immerses students into a unique cultural and economic environment, where students can observe, first hand, global business operations.

Currently, there are seven different programs in place, two of which are located in France. Students can either spend a month of their summer in Vichy or Clermont-Ferrand. In Vichy, students can earn six hours of credits by taking Principles of Marketing and Principles of Management courses. In Clermont-Ferrand, Accounting majors are given the option to take their Intermediate Accounting I course and have the opportunity to live on a university campus with other French and international students. As with all the study abroad programs through Price, classes are taught in English by Price College faculty. Academic lectures are supplemented with different business tours, museum outings, and visits to other cities around France.

Two different programs are located in Arezzo, Italy. One of these programs is design for Entrepreneurship undergraduate students. Students can earn up to 6 credit hours by taking courses in Entrepreneurship Practicum and Market Development. The second program in Arezzo is geared towards those students who would like to enroll in a three-credit hours Principles of Finance course. Arezzo is not only known as one of the birthplace of renowned artists, poets, and musicians, but is also home to 36,000 companies (1 company for every 10 inhabitants), an entrepreneurial rate that is among the highest in Italy. Students enrolled in both programs can visit Italian companies and see impressive examples of Italian art and culture through visits to Rome, Florence and Venice.

Students can participate in a fifth program offered in Reading, UK. This experience is centered on a three credit-hour course that is required of all Energy Management majors. The class, Financial Reporting Issues in Energy Management, is taught at the University of Reading. Outside of class, students spend time visiting experts and executives from a number of energy corporations such as BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell.

All business students are required to take the Senior Capstone course (Business Policy and Strategy), and they now have the opportunity to take this class in Alcala de Henares, Spain. In this program, students immerse themselves in Spanish culture by living for a month with host families in this historic college town, which was designated as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Alcala de Henares is located close enough to Madrid that students can easily take the train to visit the Prado Museum, Retiro Park, the Royal Palace, and other spectacular sites. An International Business course also is offered at this location, and students in both classes visit local companies, including the corporate headquarters and campus of the Santander Group, the fourth largest bank in the world.

The latest addition to the study abroad programs is one offered exclusively to Price College's JCPenney Leadership Program Associates. It takes place during winter break, in the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose. In addition to the JCPenney Program's required leadership class, students will also have the opportunity to explore the Rainforest, the Poas volcano, and a coffee plantation among other attractions. Students will also visit local companies that specialize in eco-tourism.

Ranked in the top 5 percent of all U.S. undergraduate business schools based on recent ranking data, the Price College of Business is one of the nation's premier business colleges. This year, U.S. News & World Report ranks the college's undergraduate program 42nd in the nation, International Business Program 17th in the nation and the Entrepreneurship Program 17th in the nation. Additionally, the Entrepreneurship Program was ranked 15th in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review.

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