Students form club to promote study abroad

A group of Seton Hall students who have studied abroad or are currently studying abroad are working together to create a new club on campus that will encourage more students to study abroad and help them through a “confusing process.”

First-year graduate student David Castrillon decided to create Seton Hall International Programs in order to encourage more students to study abroad.

“We believe that the University has a long way to reach its internationalization goals, and students can and should play a large role in achieving those goals,” Castrillon said.

According to Castrillon, approximately 400 students study abroad each year, most for less than a month.

In the 2010 school year, students traveled to 20 countries.

“These countries did not include India, Brazil or Indonesia; some of the most important to U.S. foreign policy,” Castrillon said.

Junior Natalie Schiferl, who is currently studying abroad in Australia and studied in England last semester, said she decided to become involved with SHIP because she wanted to help other students sort through the process of studying abroad.

“I would have loved to have a group to help me sort through groups and the process of getting ready to study abroad,” Schiferl said.

Schiferl said she felt the Office of International Programs, which works with Seton Hall students planning to study abroad and international students studying at Seton Hall, was not as helpful with the process of applying as she would have hoped.

“I found the OIP very annoying to work with, as I had to do everything in duplicate since I would be gone two semesters,” Schiferl said. “The pre-departure meeting seemed pointless… They weren’t helpful for filling out their own application either.”

She said she would have liked someone to help her choose a specific program and to have offered her a streamlined application so she did not have to fill out a separate application for each of her semesters abroad.

Junior Elizabeth Dudley, who studied abroad in Argentina, said she felt OIP was helpful but wished someone had been able to tell her more about what it was like to study abroad in Latin America.

Castrillon said when he studied abroad, the OIP was helpful, but “it was obvious that they were understaffed.”

Since Castrillon and Schiferl applied, the OIP has received new leadership under Associate Provost Mary Kirk Rawn, who has agreed to serve as the advisor for SHIP, according to Castrillon.

“Due to budgetary considerations, several university positions were eliminated last summer, and the Office of International Programs was assigned to me,” Rawn said.

According to Rawn, students are the OIP’s first priority despite limited staff and large workload.

According to Castrillon, SHIP submitted its application to the Student Organization Advisory Council on Feb. 11 and will present to the members of SOAC on Feb. 25.

Caitlin Carroll can be reached at caitlin.carroll@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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