SU Abroad adds courses in effort to increase number of students studying abroad
Syracuse University’s study abroad program is looking to increase the amount of students studying abroad, particularly those in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
Jenn Horvath, manager of marketing and communications for SU Abroad, said the office is doing this by marketing programs toward STEM students and making more STEM courses available abroad.
Horvath said there are three programs that have been marketed toward STEM students, two of which are engineering programs. Second-year engineering students can now go abroad to Strasbourg in the fall semester and to Florence in the spring semester, Horvath said.
Horvath said the courses taught at these centers are the same required courses the students would take at SU.
The third program will be starting spring 2017 at the SU Abroad Center in Madrid, when, Horvath said, there will be some science and math courses offered.
Also in Madrid, in correlation with these new courses, a new signature seminar will be launched that carries three biology credits, Horvath said.
There are also some new School of Information Studies courses that will be offered in London, as well as new sustainability courses that will be offered at the SU center in Florence, including an Earth science course.
“(SU Abroad) did research and we found that the number one reason students were not going abroad was because they couldn’t take the courses that they needed,” Horvath said. “It’s a slow process introducing new courses, getting them approved, etc. We tried to respond to that by introducing these new programs and courses.
“It’s very easy to fulfill the needs of, for example, a psychology student, because we offer psychology at all of our centers,” Horvath continued. “But when you’re an iSchool major or a (David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics) major or a (College of Engineering and Computer Science) major, it’s a little more difficult.”
Horvath said 90 percent of students come to SU with the desire to study abroad but only 50 percent of students end up going abroad. She added that the office has attempted to figure out the reason for the gap.
The primary roadblock that prevents students from studying abroad is courses, Horvath said. Sometimes this is a result of students doing things such as changing their major often, adding majors and adding minors. That results in there not being enough time to go abroad and still take the very specific courses required by some majors, she said.
Another reason students change their mind about going abroad is because of a fear of missing out on things happening at SU, Horvath said. There is a growing pressure to do things such as obtain leadership roles on campus and get internship experience, which can sometimes deter students from going abroad, she said.
“It is our job to show that you can keep working on your career abroad — you can keep working on internships abroad and you can get community engagement experience in another country,” Horvath said. “But we understand that the pull to be on campus with all this great stuff is something big.”
Additionally, students don’t study abroad because of cost, Horvath said. Even though tuition is the same abroad and the program fee is similar to room and board costs, she said the cost of living in many places is more expensive than the cost of living at SU and in Syracuse.
“Even though we offer a lot of scholarships and financial aid and encourage students to apply to outside study abroad scholarships, (cost) is, understandably, a real concern for many students,” Horvath said.
Published on April 27, 2016 at 9:18 pm
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