Study abroad programs see cancellation increase
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
Since 2008, the number of participants in study abroad programs has declined by more than 10 percent, according to data on the study abroad website.
Last year’s statistics have not yet been released, but the most recent data on record shows 35.5 percent of undergraduates studied abroad in the 2010-2011 school year. From 2007-2008, approximately 46 percent of students participated in study abroad, according to Lisa Chieffo, the associate director of Student Programs in the Institute for Global Studies.
The decrease in participants has resulted in several program cancellations. For the upcoming winter session, 11 out of 61 programs been canceled.
Freshman Jennifer Schoenstein said over the summer she applied to a winter study abroad in Dominica, an island nation in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, but found out it was canceled last month. She said she had written multiple essays, sent in a recommendation and completed an interview for the program.
“I was extremely disappointed,” Schoenstein said. “I knew there was a chance it could be canceled, but after putting so much time and effort into the application and learning about the trip, I didn’t even think of it as an option.”
She said she is studying in Germany this winter instead. Schoenstein said while this program does fulfill some requirements for her major, it does not meet the same requirements as the Dominica program.
Schoenstein said she does not think students are aware of the options available to them, in terms of scholarships and major-specific programs, which may be why there has been a decrease in enrollment. She said she thinks the university could do more to advertise study abroad programs.
Chieffo said the faculty directors of each study abroad program are responsible for generating student interest.
“A lot of it is done by faculty advisors,” Chieffo said. “Faculty advisors are out there recruiting students for their own programs. They’re doing what they need to do to get their students.”
She said Blue Hen Ambassadors and First Year Experience faculty mention study abroad opportunities on tours and in class.
Anthony Seraphin, a mathematics professor, said he was the faculty advisor for this winter’s study abroad in Dominica up until its cancellation in mid-September. Last year, he said he took 12 students on a study abroad program to Dominica. He said there was no difference in the way he advertised the program this year compared to last year.
He said he did not get the minimum of 12 applicants. Some students expressed interest but could not afford to go abroad, Seraphin said. He said he thinks the economy played a role in the program’s termination.
“I think that students’ parents just don’t have the means to help the students [study abroad], and in addition to that, students have loans, and prospects for jobs are not very good,” Seraphin said.
He said he is already working on a study abroad program in Dominica for next winter and hopes it will be more successful.
Senior Kyla Muhlberger said she studied abroad last spring semester in Denmark. She said the program, the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, fulfilled three requirements for her major. She said she found out about the program through an email sent out by the honors program.