Where in the world and when in time are you going to study abroad?

International Programs and Off-Campus Study held two informational meetings in Wright Theater today for sophomores hoping to study abroad their junior year. For those of you who either a) didn’t make it to the meeting or b) are freshmen looking ahead to next year, here’s a brief summary.

Essentially, current sophomores have to declare their majors (and thus, their academic advisers) this semester, since application deadlines are as follows:

January 8: All application materials submitted to academic adviser(s).

February 1: All application materials submitted to International Programs and Off-Campus Study.

Grade requirements include a minimum overall GPA of B- and an average of B or better in your major and language.  Granted, a sophomore near the bubble at the time applications are submitted usually has his/her spring semester taken into consideration.

Studying a language?  Great- generally speaking, Middlebury will have a program for you, and financial aid will probably be available.

Only speak English? Well, there are a few exchange programs in the U.K. that might strike your fancy; otherwise, you will have to choose a different university in the U.K. or Australia, get in, and pay for it yourself.  If you’re considering this route and about to fly solo, federal financial aid (Pell Grants, etc.) will (usually) kick in to help you out with the cost.  Middlebury still has to approve the program that you’re applying to if it is not an exchange or not a C.V.-Starr school abroad (i.e., one of the Middlebury schools abroad).

The Dean of International Programs, Professor Jeffrey Cason, urged students to study abroad for an entire year. He cited that past participants in Middlebury’s study abroad program have reported that staying abroad for two full terms is the best way to fully immerse oneself in a different culture.

Undoubtedly, Old Chapel pushes for students to stay abroad as long as possible in order to curb costs and free up housing. (Indeed, Cason admitted that students looking to study abroad for only a semester should do so in the fall, given that housing is particularly limited during this time.)

The Study Abroad Fair will be held on Thursday, September 24 in Bicentennial Hall from 12:00-4:00pm.  Here, students will have an opportunity to peruse their options.  Special meetings broken down by geographic region will also be taking place during the rest of September and into October.

MiddBlog wants to know: What is your advice for students considering a semester or more abroad?

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5 thoughts on “Where in the world and when in time are you going to study abroad?

  1. My advice is not to feel pressured to go abroad. For some people, it’s is the right decision. Great! I know many people whose lives were changed for the better by their time abroad. However, even though it’s one of Midd’s major selling points, you don’t have to (unless your major requires it). It’s not for everyone. As a freshman and sophomore, I felt a great deal of pressure to study abroad, but I’m glad I chose what was right for me, which was staying at Midd.

    So do what’s right for you, no matter where in the world that puts you, and enjoy your junior year! Good luck!

  2. I think the above opinion should be expressed in more venues, such as the campus etc. However, I thought it was kind of tough to study abroad if you were a science major regardless if you wanted to or not.

  3. I just want to point out that the way the info session seemed to assume we would study abroad without any mention of whether it might be right for us as individuals turned me off to the entire idea. I and my friends came away from the meeting stressed, and a little angry. There was too much should and not enough could.

  4. As I was running the meeting last night, a couple of follow up thoughts: the purpose of the meeting was to make sure that those interested in going abroad would have the information they needed to do so (and the summary at the top here captures some of what students need to know), so yes, there was an assumption that students who came to the meeting were planning to study abroad. I expect that students will have many other venues in which to discuss whether they SHOULD study abroad–with academic advisors, with parents, with students who have returned from abroad, etc.–and as one of the comments points out, this is an individual decision.
    What I would point out is that one of the best things we have available at Middlebury is the opportunity to study abroad, and most students who do it are very glad that they do, and many think of it is as a transformative experience, and consider it a highlight of their academic (and non-academic) experience while in college. Also, as I pointed out last night, many students at other top liberal arts colleges and universities also think that we do study abroad well–more than 40% of students on Middlebury programs come from other schools (around 200 students per year).
    Finally, we don’t encourage students to consider the full year primarily for reasons of space on campus; one can operate a full campus at any level of study abroad–60% as is currently the case, or 30%, as it was 25 years ago. The main reason to encourage a year, from my point of view, is because of the cultural and linguistic immersion and understanding that take place if students are abroad for a year. I do also understand that for some students, for a variety of reasons, this is not possible; I’m simply encouraging them to think seriously about it, if they haven’t already.
    –Jeff Cason

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