When I came to Linfield, one of my expectations was that I would study abroad before I left. It was always going to happen; I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
It’s not like I can blame anyone for making time pass faster than usual. International travel is, after all, something that needs to be planned far in advance, and spending a year or semester abroad is more than just travel. If there’s anyone who is at fault for not paying attention to the passing of time, it’s me.
As the kind of student who came to college wanting to explore everything before settling on a major, I found myself suddenly rushing last fall to decide whether I wanted French as a minor and a semester abroad, or a French major and a year in France. I chose the major, just in time to complete my application and turn it in to the International Programs Office.
As Spring Semester rolls on, students across campus are going through the same process as I am. There are forms to be filled out, signatures to be obtained and photocopies to be made.
Applicants have worked on their pre-orientation assignments since they were sent out on Feb. 14 and then again on Feb. 27, and the orientation itself took place on March 9 and 10.
The timing of the study abroad orientation was something that I heard a great deal of complaining about. It ran from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 10, causing students to wonder what on earth could possibly take up an entire Saturday.
While I do appreciate the orientation being on a weekend instead of during the week, I am also feeling pinched for time. In a world where any given day might contain more work than hours in which to do it, it sometimes seems crazy to want to do more.
I have also heard other study abroad applicants worry about the school applications and forms that are unique to each program.
Some of these are provided by IPO, while some are the responsibility of the student. It is sometimes hard to keep track of which is which.Perhaps a nice clear checklist would help in this case.
Despite all this, I think it is likely that IPO is getting all of this done early to avoid last-minute mishaps. It is better to have sorted out a problem months before you leave than to have it pop up in the last week.
This is a comfort to me whenever I’m feeling the stress of study abroad requirements. And the knowledge that I’m not the only one having problems with the application process is helping me deal with my anxiety.
I would encourage everyone who is going through the study abroad application process to look forward to next year. Sure, these forms, fees and assignments are obnoxious now, but there’s a reason why everyone says studying abroad is so amazing.
So, good luck to all of the study abroad applicants out there, and don’t let stress get the better of you.
Sharon Gollery/Culture editor
Sharon Gollery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org