By: Jasmine Saunders, Editor-in-Chief
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) offers students numerous opportunities to go abroad. Candace Alphonso-Moore, the director, encourages students to have at least one experience abroad.
The OIA will assist students to find a program to fit their academic, personal and financial needs. Students can study abroad, intern abroad, and participate in service learning.
Study abroad students complete coursework toward their degree in a foreign country while immerging in a new culture.
For internships abroad, they provide excellent experiences for students who participate despite most of them being unpaid, said Alphonso-Moore.
Finally, there are service learning programs where students volunteer and learn on-site in the field. For example, if a health services major wanted to go abroad to study medical practices in India, they are side-by-side with local professionals in the country to work with them to “gain insight into the unique healthcare challenges in other countries,” as the International Studies Abroad (ISA) program informational packet states.
ISA is one of the numerous outside agencies that offer students opportunities to go abroad, like CIS Abroad, Semester at Sea, the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) and Global Insight.
The Office of International Affairs ensures that students have all the necessary documents and information needed when they go abroad. First and foremost, they will need to get a passport as soon as possible because through regular service, they may take about 10 to 12 weeks to get, Mrs. Alphonso-Moore said.
The office also provides pre-departure orientation for students to learn vital information they would need to know like required immunizations, enrolling in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program), the location of American embassies abroad and obtaining international health insurance.
With all the opportunities that are available, why don’t students take advantage of them?
Unfortunately, the services that students can utilize to go abroad are not common knowledge. There are many different channels students can use to finance their trip.
For one, they could use their financial aid, scholarships, and loans. There are more scholarships available for students who study abroad for one semester or one year.
“The catch with financial aid is [students] have to be degree-seeking,” said Angela M. Smith, the associate director for Financial Aid. Students who are not taking a course abroad toward their degree are not eligible to use their respective financial aid to finance their trip.
However, students can apply for scholarships specifically for going abroad, like the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. For more in-depth information, interested students should visit the Financial Aid office and talk to Mrs. Smith who is the liaison with the International Affairs office.
Students would also need to go to the Office of Records and Registration to fill out an Approval for Transfer Credit form which needs to be signed by the chair of their department. They need to ensure that the credits are evaluated and able to be transferred back to DSU.
“Students [need to] make sure that they are in touch with their department,” said Dominique Penicke, the Transcript Clerk in the Records office. For more in-depth information about credits and their transference, students should talk to her for she is the Records liaison.
DSU also has its own abroad programs within specific departments that allow students to go abroad for a few weeks. The Department of English and Foreign Languages is one of a few that offer such opportunities.
Students who are degree-seeking through their department are required to complete a report about the culture in the country in order to get credit, said Dr. Ladji Sacko, the associate professor of French.
Mrs. Alphonso-Moore asks that students visit eNews and the OIA website (click on Academics, then click on International Programs, and finally click on study abroad opportunities) for more information about opportunities abroad.
(Photo: Jolethea Downs in Peru during Summer 2015/ DSU website)