Burst the Columbia Bubble

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Woman with globe

Pictured: studying a broad

And burst it big! If you’re interested in studying abroad next semester or next year, it behooves you to dash over to 602 Hamilton at 8:15 this evening. The Office of Global Programs (OGP) is hosting a Study Abroad General Info Session for all interested undergrads. They’ll cover eligibility, types of programs, language requirements, programs for scientists & engineers, credit, and more! Students who have previously studied abroad will share stories of their adventures in the great big world: living in Senegalese home stays, managing the Argentine transport system, acing the end of term exams at LSE in London, and experiencing la vie française in Paris.

But wait, there’s more! If you are interested in studying abroad, Bwog is here to help! Read on, brave travelers.

Studying abroad is undoubtedly one of the most exciting experiences a college student can have, but the application process can seem slightly daunting at best. To give you a hand on your long winding road to the airport, Bwog presents our finest tips and tricks for studying abroad.

  1. Know your deadlines. The OGP application deadline for the coming spring semester is October 1st, which is like, not a lot of days away. Most universities/programs also have application deadlines on September 30th or October 1st, so if you haven’t gotten far into the process yet, it’s time to kick your Art Hum reading to the curb (see it in real life, fool), reconcile that existential crisis about leaving the city, and start filling out forms like there’s no tomorrow!
  2. Getting your transcript is E-Z! There’s no need to send your CSA advisor thirty emails or scramble over printing out one of those extremely dubious-looking SSOL grade listings. Just head on over to 210 Kent, and kindly ask someone in the Student Services Office for a copy of your transcript. All you need is your ID—if you just need a quick printout, you don’t even have to fill out a request form. Score.
  3. Remember not to buy your stamps at the Package Center. Kill two birds with one administrative stone by picking up your stamps at the post office on 112th between Broadway and Amsterdam—right next to Book Culture—where you can also overnight your application so that it gets to London or Kathmandu or Moscow on time. If the line is interminably long, head down to the infinitely speedier 104th office.
  4. Need clearance to study abroad, like, now? Study Abroad King, Dean Carpenter, has office hours from 2 to 4 on Thursday in the Office of Global Programs, 606 Kent. Get there early to beat the rush—there’s sure to be a long line this week, so prep to miss any classes you have during that time.
  5. Meet with every advisor you have ever. If you haven’t done so yet, make email appointments with anyone who is tangentially related to your educational career. They will be crucial along the way to sign forms, tell you which classes you should or shouldn’t take, and generally let you know if you’ll still be able to graduate when you return.
  6. Apply for your passport and/or visa. Some countries will make you wait until you are accepted by a host university before you can apply for a visa, but if you don’t have a passport, take care of that ASAP! The U.S. government runs even more slowly than the University Senate, and you don’t want to be stuck paying ridiculous surcharges for expedited shipping.
  7. Passport pictures are expensive. Bwog spent 60 miserable dollars at Duane Reade today (since our abroad program inexplicably requires 12 photos) before realizing there was a better way that involved much less lite-music listening. A set of two passport photos are $8.99 at Ivy League Stationers, but $9.99 at Duane Reade at $10.99 at Village Copier. Plus, the Ivy League guys are some of the friendliest in town, and sell Gelly Roll Pens.

Et voila! No Morningside February for you, friend!

Pun only a dad would make via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. As someone who jumped through  

    a zillion hurdles to study abroad last year (and then had to defer admission anyway), this post makes me very happy.


    cheapest way to print passport pictures (in multiples) is by taking a picture yourself, format in microsoft paint or watever such that you can fit 6 copies of the photo arranged in 3x2 grid. Next save it as jpg or watever onto a flash drive. Go to duane reade or rite aide, and print out a 6'' x 4 '' glossy photo paper each individual "passport photo" should be 3'' x 2'' if done correctly. This will cost you 15 cents at duane reade, probably similar in rite aide, but the final step should be to cut each individual passport photo. This is the smartest thing to do I promise.

    P.S. Bwog Box this.

  3. Abroad

    A (textual) flow chart (approximation):

    1. I'm thinking of going abroad----> Go.

    2. But I'm not sure I c...---> Go.

    3. What if I...----->SHUT UP. Go.

    get the hell out of here. then come back. it does miracles.

  4. Anonymous  

    i always burst it big.

  5. clueless  

    if im a junior who still has core requirements to take care of, is it too late? do people often take a year off to do this? a semester off? what should i do?

    • depends  

      on how many core requirements you have left. basically you just have to prove to ogp that you will be able to complete the core and your major in the time you have left at columbia. oh, and you have to be done with the language requirement.

  6. Anonymous  

    I think clearance is done online now--Im pretty sure you only have to meet with the advisor from your region

  7. a useful tip

    if receiving credit for your major is a concern for you while you're away from columbia: before you commit to classes once you're abroad, EMAIL THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT YOU'RE MAJORING IN and ask their opinion on whether or not they think the class will count towards your major-- it's helpful if you give them a syllabus or something similar. they can't give you a 100% yes because they'll need to see your coursework once you're back (though they hardly look at it, really) but if they say no then this will save you a lot of trouble, don't assume something will count if it sounds like it's related to your major! ask your department!

  8. Anonymous

    guys go abroad. i LOVE columbia and seriously considered not going, but it's 100% the best decision i could have made. columbia will be there when you get back. your friends will be there when you get back. but if you're thinking about studying abroad and don't go, you'll really regret it.

  9. Anonymous

    has anyone here not studied abroad and didn't regret that decision?

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