From an FYP in London to a semester studying finance or arts in New York City, St. Lawrence students are making their presence known in all corners of the world.
Fifty percent of SLU students study abroad in semester or yearlong programs, according to Associate Dean of International and Intercultural Studies Dr. Karl Schonberg. He added that this number does not include participants in short-term sessions or summer studies.
“A lot of small private liberal arts college offer abroad programs, but the range of opportunity for SLU students is exceptional,” said Kelly Lawson-Khalidi, the new director of off-campus programs.
SLU is also unique in the funding it provides students with who may not have funds of their own to offer up. “The University decided that it was important to make off campus study accessible to any student who wanted to do it, regardless of finances,” said Schonberg.
Additionally, applications for study abroad programs are now accessible online, making it easier than ever for students to apply.
When asked if the development of the London FYP program had any correlation with attempts to relieve the campus housing crunch, Schonberg said that it’s difficult to say whether or not sending freshman off-campus would significantly help. “We never know how many students will apply,” Schonberg said. “We hope there will be student interest.“
Schonberg explained that the idea for the London FYP came about mainly because of the success of the London semester program and the FYS in France. “These programs are appealing for a fairly limited subset of students,” he said. “It’s a good way to set students up to study abroad more than once.”
Lawson-Khalidi and Schonberg highlighted the idea that International Studies is not just about the time students spend off campus. “People here really value off campus study as part of the SLU experience, and that integration does not necessarily exist at other institutions,” said Lawson-Khalidi. “It’s really part of the culture here that it’s not for a lot of other places,” Schonberg added.
Schonberg said that the CIIS office is always thinking about where they need new programs. “Right now we don’t have a program in the Middle East,” he said, “so we’re working on developing a program in Jordan.”
Expressing interest in developing the interest of the programs located in the eastern world, Schonberg said, “I would like to see more students going to East Asia and India. I think both those areas will be really important and valuable in students’ lifetimes.”
Also in the works is the Sustainability Semester, in which students would live and study on a site near campus with the goal of carrying out a lifestyle that emphasizes community values and reduces environmental impact.
Visit www.stlawu.edu/ciis to learn more about SLU’s diverse study abroad programs.