The past few years have seen a decrease in participation in Knox’s 3B’s, the Knox-run study abroad programs for Barcelona, Besanon and Buenos Aires. With the cancellation of two of the programs for the next academic year, we believe more transparency is in order regarding the status of these programs, and potential alternatives Knox will be offering in their stead.
Studying abroad is an opportunity that many college students look forward to upon graduating high school, even choosing Knox because of the strong study abroad programs offered by the college. The Knox administration should take strides to make this experience available to as many students as possible, but given potential budget constraints, Knox must at the very least provide quality alternatives to the 3B’s.
It is impossible to know exactly why students are hesitant to apply to these Knox-run programs. The administration and Center for Global Studies should make more of an effort to make sure these programs are feasible and appealing to students. Students who perceive study abroad as an investment only available to those who can afford it may miss out on an experience that can be, in many cases, just as financially accessible as a term at Knox. Of course, this has been true when discussing a 3B program during the Fall Term. Without these fall offerings through Knox, it is unclear if there will be options for students looking to not bump up their tuition costs.
As was widely said in interviews and by those who attended any of these programs, the 3B’s are extraordinary programs that offer Knox students access to opportunities abroad that many of our peers at other institutions just do not have. If it is deemed by the administration that they must be permanently or even temporarily discontinued, whether for fall or all across the board, Knox owes its students easy access to other high quality programs that hold the promise and opportunity that the 3B’s at Knox once did.
Knox should follow its ideology of providing quality educational experiences to students despite their backgrounds, including providing accessible study abroad opportunities to students who do not have the financial capabilities to add more costs onto their tuition. In making decisions regarding studying abroad, students should have access to information that may change the quality of their experience, such as the ability for credits to transfer as well as the amount of students applying to the programs. Students who applied to the cancelled programs should have been notified and been given suggestions for alternative programs. A student should not miss out on an opportunity due to the administration’s lack of communication.
Many students choose to go on a Knox-run study abroad program not just for the high quality of them, but also because it simplifies the credit and financial aid transfer processes. If these programs do cease to exist, Knox must produce a list of accepted programs that offer high quality education and cultural immersion opportunities, while also being easily transferable to Knox’s course credit and financial aid systems. If students are forced to choose from fewer Knox programs and also must overcome added financial and credit hurdles, it will be easier than ever for students to choose not to expand their horizons by studying abroad. This would constitute a failure on Knox’s intention to produce “citizens of the world” and graduates prepared to go into the world with a strong foundation and appreciation of other cultures and peoples.