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University Applies Limits to Study Abroad Program

The Office of International Programs (OIP) announced in an email Wednesday that due to imbalances in the number of Boston College students studying abroad during the fall and spring semesters, the University has decided that limits will be placed on “each semester and program for students studying abroad.”

“Our primary goal has been to give BC students the greatest amount of flexibility in choosing the program and semester that works best with their academic and personal needs,” Nick Gozik, director of OIP, wrote in an email to The Heights. “At the same time, we need to ensure that the number of students studying abroad remains balanced between the two semesters.”

The reason for this change has to do with the semester-to-semester obligations of Carroll School of Management students. Many firms hiring CSOM students, as well as students in other schools at BC, have shifted their recruiting windows to the fall, according to Amy Donegan, assistant dean of undergraduate management advising in CSOM.

The result has been over-enrollment in classes in the fall, since so many students have to be on campus to try to get jobs, and under-enrollment in the spring, as well as troubles in regards to providing every student the opportunity to study abroad exactly the way they want to. In addition, housing availability has been seriously affected: There are too many requests to fill openings in the spring and too few in the fall, leaving the Office of Residential Life scrambling to try to house students in the fall and left with too many open rooms to fill in the spring semester.

“Our goal remains to work with all students going abroad,” Gozik said. “Those who do not obtain a spring placement will be given the option of studying abroad during the fall semester of junior year … We anticipate that groups of students may choose to be proactive and select the fall semester as their first option.”

Limits aren’t a new thing, though. Gozik said that certain programs offered through OIP have had limits before. The goal of the office is to aid students in finding the abroad offering that works best for them, through offering multiple options. Gozik urged students to take advantage of meeting with OIP advisers early on and throughout determining their abroad plans in order to have a better sense of what works best for them.

“It often becomes clear that the most popular programs are not necessarily the best fit based on [students’] personal and academic needs,” he said.

In addition, Gozik asked students to “spend time on their application essay” so that OIP can better understand why certain programs are a good fit for applicants. For the next deadline, which will be on Jan. 5, students will have to select three programs on their abroad applications—one of those selections much be for the fall semester. Gozik explained this was done so students will be considering options outside of a spring semester from the moment they begin formulating their plans.

OIP’s work is far from over in terms of how the changes affect the department. Gozik’s office is working to increase capacity in popular abroad locations by creating new BC programs in addition to creating spots in existing programs. OIP is approaching the issue by working with “other academic units on campus,” according to Gozik. New choices will be available both next year and in 2020.

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor

September 10, 2018