Study abroad is what University makes of it

To the Editor:

I was surprised to hear Associate Director of International Education and Fellowship Programs Karyn Jones say that “Yale supports study abroad wholeheartedly” and attribute the low numbers of students who study abroad to a culture here of wanting to stay on campus (“Figures show Yalies staying stateside,” 1/24). As someone who has wanted to study abroad since high school, when my brother came back from Rome and raved about it, I have found Yale’s study abroad attitude extremely disappointing.

Rather than blame the lack of effort by the Yale faculty and administration to promote study abroad, Ms. Jones blames the student culture here. Perhaps the Yale administration should stop blaming others and face the facts. Yale has almost no study abroad programs around the world. Yale hardly accepts credits from other programs and has very strict restrictions for how to get credit. Yale heavily promotes going abroad during the summer, a time that for some students must be dedicated to getting jobs or valued internships. Lastly, Yale has very poor promotion of its grants and scholarships for study abroad programs. Yale is one of the best universities in the world, but how can people expect tomorrow’s leaders to come from a school where people do not go out and experience the world, but instead stay in the sheltered and rather privileged community here in New Haven?

It seems that the only students who study abroad here are those who come to Yale determined to leave and are willing to jump over the hurdles that Yale creates. There are few students here who take an interest in studying abroad while at Yale. The “culture” that Ms. Jones refers to is Yale’s fault; this institution’s lack of promotion of study abroad has created it. If there were more students leaving and then coming back with stories of how great being abroad is, more students would be inclined to leave.

Seth Niedermayer ’06

Jan. 26, 2005