Paperwork required to study in countries on warning list

Students looking to study abroad in a country deemed unsafe should be prepared for some paperwork. A student wanting to study in a country on the U.S. Department of StateâÄôs travel warning list must complete a process involving the Education Abroad Suspension Committee, which has been in place since 2004. However, if the lengthy process is not completed, students might not receive credit for their trip. Dean of International Programs Meredith McQuaid said the process generally takes two to three weeks. The committee receives two to four requests per semester, she said, and most are approved. The policy aims to support education abroad opportunities and at the same time place importance on protecting student safety, according to the University. The first step involves a student writing a petition letter to the committee, listing reasons for wanting to go to the specific country, McQuaid said. âÄúIf they can convince us that thereâÄôs a specific reason why they need to go to this particular country, the committee is very open to hearing about that,âÄù McQuaid said. Other requirements include arranging living requirements and an evacuation plan in the event of a war breakout, she said. One student, sociology senior Yusra Ahmed, wanted to complete the process before studying in Lebanon, but when she decided to begin it was too late. She said she did not receive credit for Arabic courses she completed there. âÄúI knew that we werenâÄôt going to get credit,âÄù Ahmed said. âÄúWe also knew that we would be able to if we had a proposal to the University.âÄù According to the application form, the proposal should be submitted two months in advance. Ahmed said this is why she chose not to submit a proposal. McQuaid, though, said the committee gives full consideration to students that submit a request weeks before the trip. âÄúIt would never be the case that we say, âÄòWe canâÄôt decide so you canâÄôt go,âÄô âÄú she said. While many countries on the warning list may be unsafe, acting director of Arabic studies Iman Chahine said many Arabic professors still promote trips to deepen studentsâÄô understanding of Arabic. âÄúWe give them suggestions that are other Arab countries like in North Africa,âÄù she said. âÄúWe really donâÄôt advise them to go to a country specifically.âÄù Programs in Morocco and Egypt may be safer for students to pursue, Chahine said. Despite LebanonâÄôs place on the warning list in the summer of 2006, when Ahmed studied, she said the students on organized trips avoided dangerous areas. âÄúObviously going into it I was a little concerned being that it was on the State DepartmentâÄôs warning list,âÄù Ahmed said. âÄúBut while we were there we felt pretty safe.âÄù