Students, staff say planning ahead vital to study abroad


Study Abroad. Photo taken by Jordan Leeper.

Study Abroad. Photo taken by Jordan Leeper.
Study Abroad. Photo taken by Jordan Leeper.

Trinity University works with several types of study abroad programs in over 35 different countries around the world. The various programs include faculty-led, direct university enrollment, field studies, internships and intensive language programs.

To even be eligible to study abroad, students must have a GPA of at least 2.75 and be in good standing with the university. Trinity students can study abroad any summer, but permission is required to study for a semester before junior year. However, sometimes studying abroad sophomore year is the best time to go.

“I planned on studying abroad as a sophomore when I came to Trinity and I talked to an advisor early on,” said Lea Watson, a senior majoring in urban studies. “I was able to finish up some common curriculum classes in Scotland and then focus on my major classes once I was back at Trinity.”

According to Nancy Ericksen, director of study abroad,  planning ahead is key when it comes to studying abroad. Students must file an intent form in November if they wish to study abroad sometime in the following year and attend a “First Steps” presentation. While it is still possible to study abroad if the November deadline is missed, students may not be allowed their first choice of semester abroad.

“Students who wait until the last minute find it difficult to make an appointment time and then have to rush through figuring out what they want to do,” Ericksen said. “We require an advising appointment and then an application appointment, so someone is there every step of the way. Students just have to make the appointments.”

There are study abroad opportunities for all majors at Trinity, but some might require more planning ahead than others.

“It was a bit difficult to study abroad with pre-med. It’s definitely doable, but you just have to plan for it ahead. I purposefully left myself a lot of space for common curriculum classes for me to do while abroad, and I ended up getting credit for three of them,” said Chris Hertz, a senior double-majoring in Spanish and biochemistry and molecular biology.

According to Ericksen, each program that Trinity partners with is unique, just like every student who studies abroad. If a student comes to the study abroad office with specific goals in mind, the staff will be able to find a program that fits that student.

“It always begins with your goals,” Ericksen said. “It might be an academic, professional or location goal. If you really have a clear idea of what your goals are, then pulling those things together is much easier. Then we know exactly what to look for.”

The study abroad fair will take place Monday, Sept. 15, on the Esplanade, with representatives from various programs available to hand out information pamphlets and answer questions.