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Cast Away on a Semester Abroad

By: Mariah Diaz – Web Editor

Walk the halls of the Buckingham Palace or swim in the Great Barrier Reef on a semester abroad in another country!

William Paterson University is currently promoting study abroad opportunities for a variety of majors. Some of the programs being offered are: Cambridge University in England for legal studies, Windesheim University in the Netherlands for education, and the University of Arizona in Guatemala for spanish and public health.

Many students start making arrangements around this time of year if they plan to study abroad the following semester. The Office of International Students and Scholars and the National Student Exchange Program at William Paterson can help students arrange and plan their trips in any major to various countries.

William Paterson University works with third party companies such as the Center of International Studies, the American Institute for Foreign Study and International Studies Abroad  to create fun and safe experiences for students who want to study abroad.

These chosen study abroad organizations hold programs in countries that are not listed on the country alert of the U.S. Department of State; which is the department that warns people of countries that may pose danger. A country could be deemed unsafe due to weather or terrorist attacks for example, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Cinzia Richardson, WPU director of the Office of International Students and Scholars and the National Student Exchange Program, works closely with these programs and with students to ensure that they have a good and safe experience abroad.

When choosing a country to study in, Richardson encourages that students carefully check out each program so they can find the program best fit for them.

“Students need to be diligent in researching all available programs, scholarships and funding options,” Richardson said. “They also need to work closely with their academic advisers to ensure that courses taken through a study abroad program fit in their academic programs without causing a delay in graduation.”

William Paterson students tend to visit the United Kingdom and China. The runner up countries visited are India and the Netherlands, followed by Italy and Spain, according to Richardson.

“WPUNJ has an online user friendly application,” Richardson said. “The application process consists of an essay, letters of recommendation, a disciplinary record confirmation form and a Visiting Students Authorization form where all courses are listed and approved by their academic advisor, department chair and College Dean.”

She also mentioned that WPU is the only New Jersey school that does not require an application fee to apply to study abroad.

Only 1% of William Paterson students study abroad, according to the office of International Students and Scholars and the National Student Exchange Program. However, the students that have gone through some of these programs have had great experiences.

“What made me study abroad was my desire to see new things,” Samantha Pontrella said, who studied abroad in London, England in the Fall of 2015.  “My desire to expand and grow as a human being was the drive behind applying to the abroad program. I felt it necessary to experience other cultures by diving into them and hoping they accept me and allow me to learn from them.”

“Being out of my element allowed me to get lost; and not lost in the sense that I didn’t know where I was going, but it was the kind of lost that allowed me to find things, places, and people that I would have never found before if I had tried to stay on track with directions,” said Pontrella.

Sophomore Kasia Maziarczyk studied abroad in Sydney, Australia in the Fall of 2016.

“I’ve wanted to study abroad even before I started college,” said Maziarczyk. “My family and I travel a lot and they were very supportive of the idea; especially since I am a commuter and never had the ‘college experience.’”

She continued by saying that the best part of her trip was making friends with the local people that lived there.

“Since you travel as part of a program and are surrounded by the American students who came with you, it can be hard to branch out and meet local people, especially since you are only there for a short time,” said Maziarczyk. “When you do though, its great. They take you to local spots, and you start to realize how different the two cultures are. Also weekend trips!”

Both Pontrella and Maziarczyk agreed that if any student has the opportunity to study abroad take it because it’ll be an unforgettable experience.

 

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