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SGA Considers Studying Abroad

This week, SGA hears from the Study Abroad office about the experience of students studying abroad, and what the Barnard community can do to improve this program.

Associate Director of Study Abroad Krista Rockholt presented to Barnard’s Student Government Association on Monday night. The presentation began with some housekeeping: the office recently moved to a new location on the second floor of Lefrak, and they are now offering drop-in hours to answer students’ questions outside of appointments. The drop-in hours are on Fridays, from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm.

The numbers indicate an office that is steadily growing over time. More Barnard students have gone abroad this semester than ever before. There is a list of over 100 approved programs in 50 countries, and students can petition to participate in a program that is not on this list. The petitioning process requires the Study Abroad office to review the program’s academics, conduct on-site visits, and get feedback from Barnard students who have participated in past years, if applicable. 

Many of the SGA representatives had questions about where students are studying abroad. The majority of Barnard students go to European countries. Members of the student body and the office alike are interested in diversifying study abroad locations to include regions such as Latin America and the Middle East. 

There were also questions about domestic exchange programs, as not all students are able to leave the United States. Currently, Barnard has only one domestic exchange program with Spelman College. The office is seeking to add to its offering of domestic programs. 

Another concern voiced by representatives was the financial aspect of going abroad. Rockholt explained that if you receive financial aid during a semester on Barnard’s campus, you will receive it abroad. Finding work when you are in-country will depend on the type of visa you have, but some study abroad programs offer on-campus work for foreign students. 

Rockholt was also interested in changing the conversations on campus around study abroad. She re-iterated that some form of study abroad can be a possibility for everyone, regardless of major or language experience. Many SGA reps agreed with this, and there was a suggestion to start speaking with students about study abroad options early on, so they could plan it into their time at Barnard. Additionally, there were suggestions for the office to add to their pre-departure training by guiding students on how to be a respectful visitor during their time abroad. 

There will be a Study Abroad Fair in the Altschul Atrium on February 14, from 1 to 3 pm. There, you can meet students who have participated in semester and summer programs, students visiting Barnard on foreign exchange programs, and Barnard faculty who lead summer programs. If you are interested in studying abroad for the fall 2020 or spring 2021 semester, the intent to study abroad form is due March 15, 2020.

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