Study abroad programs provide global learning opportunities

Study abroad applicants are met with the question, “Where will your journey take you?” on the website for the Weissman Center for International Business at Baruch College. Study abroad is something every student is told to do. Global learning is a concept that has been on the rise recently, with more and more job recruiters preferring their employees to have experience with people and cultures in countries other than the United States. Baruch seems to offer many resources for its students to go abroad through its Study Abroad Office, located on the eighth floor of 137 E. 25 Street. Despite all of the positives to studying abroad, only about half of the students actually do. The reasons for this happening are not that clear, however.

After meeting with an advisor, students receive access to the application to study abroad, where they apply for the specific programs that they are considering. The Study Abroad Office also provides resources for obtaining scholarships to fund the cost of learning and living in a different country, as well as a network of students who have already done it and are willing to share their experiences. The problems with studying abroad start to arise when looking at which international colleges and classes Baruch students can attend.

Each class taken abroad must be equivalent to a class at Baruch in order for its credits to be transferred, and a student must have taken any prerequisite classes that the equivalent Baruch course requires. Students can only take 40 percent of the classes in their major field abroad instead of at Baruch and they cannot take capstone courses abroad, let alone at other CUNY campuses. Since the majority of approved study abroad applicants are juniors and seniors, this can hinder their ability to finish their major in time for graduation. With proper planning and making use of elective classes, this is not a complete deal breaker, but it is a factor nonetheless.

As a student in the CUNY system, one can choose to study abroad through any SUNY or CUNY program. In fact, under the “Summer Programs” heading on the Study Abroad website, a lot of the programs offered by Baruch are actually College of Staten Island programs. Numerous semester-long exchange programs are also headed by SUNY Albany.

While applying to study abroad with other SUNY or CUNY colleges is not a difficult process, this could affect a student whose tuition is covered by an honors program at Baruch, or who wants their international course grades to count as part of their overall GPA. As with choosing courses, planning is required in these areas as well.

The Baruch-sponsored programs that are offered favor the students of the Zicklin School of Business. Many of the international universities that offer exchange programs are specialized in business or applied sciences. It can be discouraging for a student from the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences or a student from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs if the location he or she dreamed of studying in will not provide the courses that he or she wants to take. Those students can still petition to apply at other universities in the country, but they might have to become proficient in the country’s language in order to be able to do so.

Most major universities offer courses taught in English, but potential applicants should consider more than one destination in case a university cannot accommodate.

All in all, studying abroad at Baruch is definitely an option that should be taken advantage of, but only after one has done careful planning and research. One should know exactly what they are applying for and what conditions come with it. The Study Abroad Office is a great resource for students yearning to travel, but Baruch should keep trying to accommodate for all three of its schools and for all types of programs.