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The Antelope

The Antelope

Study Abroad Office should prioritize outreach efforts for trips

UNK student Sophia Gilsdorf overlooks the city of Florence. Photo courtesy Sophia Gilsdorf.

Exploring a new place, learning a language and trying new foods; all while earning credit hours. A student dreams about their study abroad experience. Suddenly, that dream is crushed.

The trip is canceled.

As interest in UNK’s study abroad programs declines, this scenario is becoming a reality.

To increase interest, we ask the international study abroad office to improve advertising to students. In return, students should consider attending study abroad information sessions.

Attendance was sparse at UNK’s last session on Feb. 15. This lack of interest seems to be a theme in recent years. 

Doug Biggs, interim vice chancellor of the study abroad office, said the number of students studying abroad has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

This spring, the study abroad office is offering two programs in the Czech Republic. 

The first is a marketing planning class, with one week occurring internationally. There will be nine students participating. 

The second focuses on European history and culture, lasting three months.Another six students will participate in this program.

During the summer, programs are offered for France, Italy and Greece. There are some offered in Costa Rica and Spain but are not listed on UNK’s study abroad website.

A trip to Ireland was planned for summer 2023 but was canceled due to low interest.

If the study abroad office’s website was up to date, students could easily explore the programs offered. 

Finding information like program dates, prices and scholarships requires some digging. It is hard to distinguish between past and upcoming programs. Costs should be easier to access, as they can be an influential factor in studying abroad. To find costs, one must go to the study abroad home page, select “Browse Program Brochures,” choose a program and click on the “Cost & Funding” tab. Some programs have the costs listed in a different location or not listed at all.

Furthermore, the page is missing the study abroad’s office location, phone number and staff directory. If students can’t find the office, it limits their ability to learn about the program.

Nevertheless, we commend UNK for establishing a great relationship with the Czech Republic. Martin Elbel and Jan Stejskal, coordinators of the study abroad program between UNK and Palackaý University in the Czech Republic, were commencement speakers at the December commencement. 

While we cannot point fingers as to why interest is down, the study abroad offices should increase their advertising.

We recommend promoting more destinations besides the Czech Republic and Italy.

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