The Voice: SHIP can improve study abroad experiences

The Setonian hopes the Student Organization Advisory Council will approve the petition of students and allow the creation of Seton Hall International Programs, an organization devoted to encouraging and aiding students who decide to study abroad.

We agree with the students quoted in the Page 3 story on the creation of SHIP. Seton Hall does have a lot more it could do to reach its internationalization goals.

400 students studied abroad last year, most of them for less than a month. Seton Hall should encourage students to study abroad for full semesters or years, rather than for shorter periods, such as month-long summer programs.

As a four year university, Seton Hall has many possible options for encouraging students to study abroad. Seton Hall could start by working to fully re-staff the Office of International Programs. A fully staffed office would be better able to serve students needs and aid them in the study abroad process.

The second major change Seton Hall should make is to establish more direct exchange programs. Seton Hall should stop relying on its outsourced, third-party study abroad program facilitators as much as it does. Direct exchange programs would benefit the student body at Seton Hall because they allow students to use their Seton Hall scholarships at foreign institutions.

Such exchange programs would encourage students who receive academic scholarships from Seton Hall to study abroad. Currently, students with academic scholarships cannot use them when studying abroad through any of the third-party study abroad programs. As a result, for some students, forfeiting a semester or year of scholarship funds can make studying abroad cost prohibitive.

If Seton Hall had a fully staffed OIP office, as well as numerous direct exchange opportunities, more students might study abroad for longer periods of time. The ability to use their scholarships to cover tuition in foreign institutions would make studying abroad a more appealing and attractive opportunity. Hopefully SHIP will be a first step in promoting such changes.

Author: Staff Writer

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