ISA to expand options this year

Yale plans to expand the newly created International Summer Award Program this year after it drew 142 students this summer, officials said Monday.

Yale administrators are working to increase the number of international summer programs the ISA sponsors, International Education and Fellowship Programs Director Barbara Rowe said. IEFP has also consulted more academic departments this year to offer more diverse courses through the Yale Summer Session program next summer, Rowe said. The proposed additions have been submitted to Yale College Dean Peter Salovey for approval.

The ISA program, the first of its kind at an American university, was created last spring to provide funds for undergraduate financial aid recipients to participate in Yale-approved summer study and internships abroad.

Rowe said she is confident the program will attract more participants next summer, in part because the University will have more time to organize the program this year. The University had expected about 125 students to enroll in the ISA program in its inaugural summer.

“Because it [the ISA program] was announced in late February last year, we did not have many takers, but we are anticipating that this will change,” Rowe said. “We are still waiting to confirm with the dean, [but] I hope the program will be announced by the end of the semester if not by Thanksgiving.”

The new additions are set to include more Yale-sponsored internships around the world, Undergraduate Study Abroad Adviser Karyn Jones said.

“There should be a bunch of new internships in Europe and Asia,” Jones said.

The ISA, which was unveiled last spring, provides grants to students on financial aid for summer options overseas that are proportional to the level of term-time financial aid they receive for the spring semester preceding their trip. Last summer, the average grant was $5,150 per student, according to official IEFP figures. U.S. citizens who received grants were typically awarded a $2,250 stipend to cover the expected summer earnings contribution, in addition to a personalized grant to pay for their expenditures abroad.

Currently, students can receive ISA funding for selected internships including the “Bulldogs” internship programs, Yale Summer Session classes abroad and various fellowships.

The ISA program allows students without the means to study abroad to travel overseas, said Lauren Davis ’06, who received ISA funding to spend last summer in the Czech Republic.

“It was the first time I went abroad [and] without the ISA I wouldn’t have gone,” Davis said. “We lived very well for five weeks without stressing for money. It is ironic to note that people struggle for money more at Yale than while they travel in Europe.”

Taieef Rahman ’08, who traveled to Paris with the help of ISA, said his experience abroad was a vital part of his education that could not have been covered at Yale.

“Spending time abroad allows you to immerse yourself in a foreign culture first hand,” Rahman said. “It is so much better learning a foreign language with native speakers and being constantly around people who speak the same language. It was the greatest experience of my life.”

Nikhil Seshan ’08 said he was surprised by the disproportionately large number of international students taking part in the program with him in Prague.

“Out of 12 students in the class, six were internationals, but I don’t think I can generalize on the program as a whole,” Seshan said. “Many U.S. students have not been to Europe before, so they may find Paris and London more attractive destinations.”

According to IEFP figures, 22.5 percent of the students who received an ISA award hail from overseas. International students comprise about 9 percent of the undergraduate student body at Yale, according to the Undergraduate Admissions Web site.

The University is not planning to extend the range of subsidized summer travels to include domestic programs in the near future, Rowe said.

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