The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Commentary September 28, 2007

More Letters to the Editors: Staff Responds to Study Away Editorial

To the Editors:

Thank you for calling attention to the Oberlin Study Away program in last week’s editorial “A Study of Study Away.” This program is a wonderful opportunity for Oberlin students. Living and working abroad can be a life-changing experience, but few have the opportunity to do this after college. Many people on campus work hard to ensure that Oberlin students are able to take advantage of this experience.

Your editorial complains about the complexity of the application process for studying away. Much of the complexity stems from our desire to make as many programs available to students as possible. It is incumbent upon the College that we certify the validity of the educational experiences students have away from the campus. After all, we give credit towards graduation for these activities. We could do this quite easily if we restricted study away opportunities to a small number of programs with which we were very familiar. If we even restricted study away to the Affiliate list of 85 programs we could reduce the amount of paperwork needed by students. We prefer to give students more choice. There are well over 3000 study away programs that are available to Oberlin students. We can’t know all of these programs, so we require students to provide us with information about the non-affiliated programs in order to obtain permission to go on them. It seems a small price to pay for such a rich opportunity.

We make information about study away opportunities available Staff Responds to Study Away Editorial to students in many different ways. This week there are two information sessions and the Study Away Fair – both of which were well publicized in your recent issue. There have also been recent information sessions about the Danenberg Oberlin-in- London program and the PRESHCO and Puebla programs offered through the Hispanic Studies department. The Study Away Office staff advises many students on a walk-in basis and over 175 students each semester are advised individually by the Study Away Advisor.

Naturally, we are always looking for ways to simplify the study away application process while preserving its integrity. We are always looking for ways to make study away more rewarding for students. Over 40 percent of the Arts and Sciences students at Oberlin spend at least one semester studying away from campus. We strongly encourage all students to look for ways to incorporate study away into their educational programs.

–Bob Geitz
Chair, Faculty
Off-Campus Study Committee

–Ellen Sayles
Associate Dean of Studies,
Director of Programs for
International Education


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