January 25, 2012

Studying abroad? There’s an app for that

The applications for approval of next year’s batch of study abroad students are nearly in, and some students are facing the stress of a rather rigorous application process.

For Knox programs like Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Besancon, the application for approval and for the program itself is one and the same. However, for programs outside of Knox, students must fill out one complete application for Knox and one separate application for the program.

“Getting the application process through here is sort of like a scavenger hunt,” sophomore Ben Yoder-Henley said, “because you’re going to different buildings, finding people … I’ve had actually really good luck [with the administrators], but I’ve heard some people are having trouble with their advisers, with their teachers.”

Yoder-Henley, a psychology major, hopes to go to Bodh Gaya, India through the cooperative Antioch University program to study Buddhism and meditation. Although he thinks the application process is demanding, he is appreciative of how the early deadline and the large workload tested his commitment to going abroad.

“If you’re successful in getting everything signed plus your essay done, then you’re f***ing serious about doing this,” he said.

Junior Laurel Tippe, who plans on going to Mali through a program with Antioch University, found the application process helpful in fleshing out what she wanted out of her future education.

“It was more reflective than difficult,” Tippe said. “It was a good opportunity for me to really flesh out my ideas for my senior project … I had to be specific about how I wanted to use my time in Mali.”

While in Mali, Tippe hopes to research Wassalow music under an apprenticeship with local musicians. She intends to look at the musical tradition from a political angle, examining its emphasis on women’s liberation from oppression in Malian society. If all goes well, she hopes to use it for her future Honors project.

“Hopefully, my Honors project next year would be … comparing [Wassalow musicians] to women here in the United States — specifically female folk musicians — doing similar things with music,” she said.

Sophomore Grace Moran, who has already turned in her application to study Spanish through the Knox program in Barcelona, was relatively unfazed by the process.

“Basically, I had to fill out a study plan to make sure I would be able to graduate on time … then I had to write an essay in Spanish, and then three letters of recommendation,” she said.

Moran, who had considered going through in a non-Knox approved program in South America, decided to go to Spain instead in part because “the application process was easier.”

Despite these students’ differing experiences with the application process, each one shared an excitement to get away from campus for awhile and outside of their comfort zones.

“It will just be really nice to be away from the ‘bubble,’” Moran said.

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