Study abroad stress

Students look for greater flexibility in study abroad programs.

Many students in the College of Science and Engineering find it difficult to have a fulfilling study abroad experience and stay on track to graduate on time, the Minnesota Daily reported Nov. 7. 

For certain majors at the University, studying abroad while fulfilling requirements may be more difficult due to tight course requirements and classes that are only offered during certain semesters with mandatory pre-requisites.

Kate Maple, assistant dean for the College of Design, said in an email that both architecture degree programs were recently revised to make it easier for students to study abroad. The program’s tradition of faculty-led programs has allowed architecture majors to fulfill requirements without delaying graduation, she said. Maple also said she generally doesn’t think architecture and design students perceive that it is not possible to study abroad and graduate in four years.

This is in contrast to undergraduate CSE students, who had the lowest percentage of study abroad participants of any college within the University during the 2011-12 school year, the Daily reported.

CSE international programs coordinator Adam Pagel said the college is working on improving program offerings and more proactively providing assistance to students interested in studying abroad.

There’s still work to be done. Faculty-led engineering programs in foreign countries take time to create, and they can be complicated with a language barrier. While students can receive transfer credits from international universities, the course load taken must be approved by a University professor in the discipline before credit is granted.

By getting more faculty involved in study abroad proposals and partnering with service organizations in need of engineers across the globe, CSE students will also be able to use their skills to benefit others while completing major requirements.