The Office of Global & Off Campus Education: The University’s gateway to the world

Sara Wilkerson, Special Features Co-Editor

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“Patience” and “flexibility” are two seemingly unrelated words. Yet, according to Marguerite Santorine, one of the advisers in the Office of Global & Off-Campus Education, these words of wisdom are vital to advisees throughout the tedious study abroad application process.

“I believe in a holistic approach to advising. I support the student, am responsive to individual student needs and keep the office’s policies and procedures present in all advising conversations,” Santorine said.

Who Can Help?

The Office of Global & Off-Campus Education (OGOCE) is dedicated to serving University students who have the passion and drive to study abroad in places far and wide around the world. These places include, but are not limited to, the United Kingdom, France, China, Greece and Australia. OGOCE not only helps students navigate which abroad programs are right for them but also prepares students for life abroad, as well as welcomes them back to campus afterward through the Global Ambassador Program.

Prior to Applying

Before applying to study abroad, students should be aware of several factors that could impact not only their application but also their overall ability to study abroad. Students of all majors should consult an adviser from the Office of Global Education as well as their faculty advisers in order to plan their abroad course schedule and see how many of their credits will transfer back to the University. Additionally, students should consider other aspects like core course curriculum (CCC), individual degree requirements and finances, among some factors.

The components that make up the overall process to go abroad may seem daunting; however, there are overwhelmingly positive experiences that come from exploring the world. 

Lindsey Schwalm ’20, who studied abroad last spring via the Bucknell In London program, believes in the value of studying abroad. She said that students who are considering it should, “Just do it. There are many ways you can make it financially feasible through scholarship programs, like the Gilman [Scholarship]. I think the application process is fairly straightforward.”

Life Abroad 

Bucknell In Programs

When students are abroad, there are a variety of programs that they can be a part of. The University has “Bucknell In” programs that complement the education offered on campus. 

During her Bucknell In London program, Schwalm particularly liked the freedom she was given to explore individually. “I wasn’t experiencing these amazing sites and experiences on my own,” Schwalm said about certain class excursions. “Yet I had the ability to explore by myself to the extent I felt comfortable doing.” 

“[Studying abroad] is a very hands-on experience,” Schwalm said. “When I studied modern art [in London], we did not just talk about revolutionary pieces, we went and saw them for ourselves. When I was learning the history of London, we were going and seeing literally where history unfolded. There is no learning experience that can be more immersive than that.”

Approved Programs

The University also approves study abroad programs run through other universities and study abroad programs.

One of the popular approved study abroad programs is Franklin and Marshall’s Advanced Studies in England (ASE) program. The ASE program is a humanities-centric program located in the city of Bath, England, which offers classes in areas such as English, History, Women & Gender Studies and Education.

As a unique program, ASE offers students the chance to have one-on-one classes (otherwise known as tutorials) with tutors on subjects that students want to study. Tutorials can be in various areas of subject, including classical languages, creative writing and film studies.

Besides academics, ASE offers several social and cultural opportunities that explore the United Kingdom. “Besides great classes (many with field trips), there are also residential stays in Oxford, and Stratford-upon-Avon…whole programme visits to Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, and beyond,” Dean and Director of ASE Jonathan Hope said. “Not to mention [there are] three-day weekend [trips] and a mid-semester break to travel independently. In other words, Bath can be your gateway to the U.K., and beyond into Europe.”

Echoing the sentiment of Hope, Anna Scheitler ’21, who studied with the program, elaborates. “Rather than living with a host family or on a campus, you truly integrate yourself in the community by living in houses and apartments throughout the city of Bath,” Scheitler said. “The program allowed me to be surrounded in a culturally enriching environment and within days of being there, I knew one semester wouldn’t be enough. I decided to extend my stay and apply for the spring 2020 semester.”

However, the United Kingdom is merely one of the many places that students considering studying abroad can go to, and they should nevertheless explore all places around the world. OGOCE’s offerings on Bucknell In and Bucknell Approved programs are just a short sampling of the opportunities offered to interested students. 

Returning to Campus

When students return from studying abroad for a semester or a full year, Anita Casper, one of the OGOCE’s advisers, reaches out to students about the Global Ambassadors Program (GAP). GAP is a program designed to not only help students adjust to being back on campus, but it also helps students reflect on their time abroad through meetings, projects, and events on campus.

Typically, the program is year-long, during which students engage with each other, their mentors, and the University community at large in discussions ranging from global citizenry, cultural bias, inclusivity, and overall awareness of global issues. Upon completion of the program, students are presented with sashes and pins to wear at graduation. 

“My biggest advice for being abroad would be to just take a leap of faith and get out there,” Scheitler said. “I say this because I believe the benefit of being abroad is that once you are outside of the U.S. and able to step back from the monotony of normal day to day life on campus, then you can really begin to find yourself, look from a different point of view [on] your major, and change the way you view the world.”

Schwalm likewise expressed her opinion about the benefits of studying abroad. “The benefits of studying abroad are limitless as long as you take advantage of your time there. I have learned so much about the world, but also myself. It was truly the most empowering experience I ever had,” she said. 

While studying abroad is an individualized experience to be had, there is one thing all abroad experiences have in common: that we all live in a world of undiscovered possibilities. 

As Santorine says, be both patient and flexible. But, more importantly, when studying abroad, go out and explore the world.

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