Study Abroad Apps Due

Emily Glazer

By Emily GlazerThe Daily Northwestern

It turns out studying abroad is more than a plane ride away.

Today marks the first of three possible deadlines this week to study abroad during the fall or for the full year in 2007. Students said they’re scrambling to write essays and rushing to obtain recommendations and faculty signatures of approval.

In fall 2004 and 2005, about 300 students studied abroad, but by late Friday afternoon the study abroad office had only 68 applications for the coming year, said Robin Leephaibul, study abroad adviser.

Michelle Gere, the Study Abroad Office’s department assistant, said she expects to see more applications this week, but Leephaibul said finishing up the paperwork is not a quick process.

Applicants must write several essays on topics such as why they want to attend a certain program, what courses they have taken that have prepared them and how they plan to follow up with their studies when they get back to Northwestern.

Students also must complete an essay detailing potential research they could conduct in their study abroad country.

“This is a student’s opportunity to show our office how serious they are about study abroad and their knowledge of the country,” Leephaibul said.

Students must turn in their applications on one of three deadlines throughout the week based on the first letter of their last name. But sometimes handing in an application on time isn’t enough.

Some students must turn in their applications before the deadline because popular programs fill up early. Programs in Madrid and Seville in Spain fill up fast, Leephaibul said. She also said that COPA, the Argentine Universities Program in Buenos Aires, usually fills up by the deadline.

Lucy Dietch, a Weinberg sophomore, applied to COPA because it offers a longer program.

“I always knew I wanted to go abroad – it was my one definite for college,” she said. “I thought I wanted to go to Spain but then I changed my mind since Buenos Aires is a five-month program – I feel like I’ll learn more Spanish.”

Stephanie Jarzemsky, a Weinberg sophomore, also applied to study in Buenos Aires, but she petitioned to go on a program associated with the University of Minnesota because the program worked better with her schedule.

Adding the petition to the already lengthy application meant more time and effort for Jarzemsky.

“The petition was definitely another hoop that I had to jump through – it was a hassle to do it,” she said. ” … It took a good chunk of time. It was a lot of extra leg work to get all the (faculty) signatures.”

Often, students wait until the last minute and have trouble making appointments with the appropriate faculty members, Leephaibul said. Many students have problems when trying to cram in the application the night before the deadline, and Leephaibul stressed starting early.

“Start studying the appropriate foreign language, take relevant courses and go to a Study Abroad 101 Information Session to learn the basics,” she said.

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