Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Study Away 101 sessions underway

By Taylor Lunka, News Reporter

Study Away 101 sessions are designed to give students tools, tips and tricks for the study away process.

Program options allow students to use their financial aid and scholarship money toward the cost of getting an education outside of the Pacific Lutheran community.

The second-to-last Study Away 101 session, presented by the Wang Center, took place Oct. 24 in the Anderson University Center.

These sessions inform students about finance options and gave them the opportunity to ask the Sojourner advocates questions.

The advocates are Pacific Lutheran University students who provide peer support for the study away process, using their own experiences to inform others.

Senior Hailey Jung, one of the Sojourner advocates, said she thinks students should “go out into the world and experience a completely new culture.”

With study away trips, “not only do you get a new perspective on life and on the world, but you gain a ton of independence, and you get to broaden your horizons,” Jung said. “College is a convenient time to go, so why not?”

During the presentation, students learned there are three program types.

The first, gateway programs, are faculty-developed, semester-long, study away programs.

Tanya Ulsted, gateway programs manager, said she and faculty are working on a local gateway program.

The featured programs offer students an option to study away with PLU partner schools, such as  in England, Namibia or Spain.

The other option for studying away is through a third-party program.

Jung said that gateway or featured programs are the same price as the “PLU comprehensive fee,” while the approved third party program prices vary and include a $1,500 administrative fee.

Prices for J-term trips depend on the destination.
Jung said some can be “fairly inexpensive or can go up to $9,000, like the Antarctica trip.”

Students can apply for a Global Scholar Award, a need-based scholarship, through the Wang Center.

Semester-long study away trips can merit a $2,500 scholarship, whereas students applying for a J-term trip can receive up to $1,000.

Senior Sara Stuart, another Sojourner advocate who presented, said that to study away “you have to be in good standings with the university.”

These specific requirements include completion of 32 or more credit hours and a minimum 2.7 cumulative GPA.

The Sojourner advocates encourage students to explore, evaluate and apply.

Stuart offers students multiple ways to explore the study away options by attending a 101 session or stopping by the Wang Center to get information and look at the available brochures.

Jung and Stuart recommended that students email them or one of the other two Sojourner advocates, Jennie Greb and Kenny Stancil to “narrow down program options.”

During this process, students need to meet with their academic adviser to make sure they are “on time and on track with their major,” Jung said. 

If help is needed with program options, meeting with a study away adviser will help students get started with the process, Jung said.

Anna Loose, a first year student, said she thinks “nothing quite offers the same global perspective as actually being put into a different culture and foreign environment.”

She said studying away “puts the concepts you learn in the classroom into life and helps you apply those classroom concepts into the real world.”

The application process for study away depends on the program.

Stuart said most programs require an application, transcript, personal statement and faculty recommendations.

The next deadline is March 15 for students who want to study away anytime in the 2013-2014 school year. The J-term 2014 deadline is April 12.

To research available programs and locations, meet with a study away adviser in the Wang Center.