University needs study abroad advisement
With program attendance declining, students need answers
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 19:10
According to data presented by the Associate Director of Study Abroad, Lisa Chieffo, study abroad participation has declined by 35.5 percent over the 2010-2011 academic year. Often, students feel the study abroad programs offered at the university are too expensive, or they do not take the initiative to sign up due to the way the university organizes its programs.
The university should consider hiring study abroad advisors to help walk students through the process. Applying to a study abroad program is a very independent process at the university, as there are no designated resources for students to contact for extra help and to answer questions besides the professors in charge of the trip. Accordingly, there are some students who are not aware of what each program offers or entails. Many programs have courses that satisfy breadth requirements, which students typically enroll in during their freshman and sophomore years of college, while there are a significant number of students who choose to study abroad in their second half of college. Students can find themselves taking courses abroad that they do not necessarily need to graduate. Having a study abroad officer ready to answer questions pertaining to satisfying required credits and financing trips could make the application process smoother.
Another reason students may stray away from studying abroad is the increasing cost of program fees. Many students are not aware of the different program fees and decide not to fill out an application after seeing the programs’ expenses. Many students choose to study abroad through programs not affiliated with the university because of the cheaper cost. All in all, studying abroad is an enriching experience some students overlook. College is one of the few times a student can actually take out a loan to finance travel endeavors. If the university could do a better job in advising students exclusively on studying abroad, there is no doubt that more students would show interest.