Students gathered in Brushaber Commons for the study abroad fair Wednesday afternoon. | Photo by Josie Shaw

Off-campus opportunities

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Study abroad fair includes information for international program options

By Rebecca Pirrie

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 291 Bethel students studied abroad. Of those students, 55 chose to study with an off-campus international program. The rest travelled with one of Bethel’s faculty-led programs.

“There’s such a wide range of choices in regards to countries and disciplines,” Director of AIFS Study Abroad Ann Hubbard said.

Bethel partners with multiple off-campus programs including Global Semesters, Academic Programs International and International Study Abroad. Presented alongside the other travel options, these organizations have the same cost effectiveness as Bethel’s faculty-led programs.

“I think students feel more comfortable going with a program where they know the faculty,” Bethel Study Abroad Office Coordinator Eliza Jensen said.

Jensen explained that with independent trips, the lack of familiar Bethel faces accompanying them could be intimidating to some. In other instances, a language barrier could be a concern involved with off-campus programs.

Junior elementary education major Hannah Johnson spent spring 2018 in Cyprus through Global Semesters. She explained the balance of support and independence that outside programs have, which is a setting where she thinks many college students could thrive.

“This program did a great job at diving into a country and culture more deeply, while having the opportunity to travel wherever you wanted,” Johnson said.

Students also must consider whether or not their courses will transfer with off-campus programs. While there are various countries and courses offered elsewhere, Bethel must approve them before a student can be accepted into the program.

Senior communications major Samantha Willis said that she advocates for off-campus international programs. During her time in New Zealand spring 2018, Willis took electives and general education requirements that all transferred over.

“One of the benefits of using an affiliated program is that there are way more class options,” she said.

While studying abroad with a faculty-led program is a more comfortable option, Jensen voiced her support for the off-campus programs as well because of the growth she noticed in students after they returned.

Applications for interim 2020 study abroad opened online Wednesday.

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