Letter to the Editor

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From the New Director of Study Abroad 

Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your academic career. In addition to fun and exciting travel, you will learn about other cultures, perhaps obtain proficiency in another language, gain invaluable experience in your field of study, develop confidence and self-sufficiency in the face of everyday challenges abroad, and broaden your perspectives on both the world and the United States. As someone who studied abroad twice as an undergraduate, I can attest to the transformative power of living in another country. It is one of the main reasons I became a German professor and why I facilitate student travel to Germany.  

But study abroad isn’t always easy. There are bureaucratic and financial hurdles to overcome. As the new Director of Study Abroad, I promise to assist you in navigating these hurdles. But as your fellow classmate Nailah Russell put it in her article, “A Girl Abroad: Off to Australia,” it’s your academic experience, so it’s your responsibility to be on top of requirements and deadlines.  

So what do you need to know to study abroad? First, every Hood student regardless of major can study abroad, but most programs do have a minimum GPA-requirement, ranging between a 2.5 and a 3.0. Some programs require proficiency in the language of the country, but there are many programs that don’t. For most students, the spring semester of their junior year is the optimal time to study abroad. 

What about financial aid? If you apply to a Hood-affiliated program, any financial aid you receive from Hood can be applied to tuition and fees, but not to other costs such as travel and room and board. If you receive federal or state aid, you can use these funds for room and board and miscellaneous expenses.  

Where can you study abroad? Just about anywhere. Can you picture yourself studying a language in Argentina, France, Spain, or Germany? Can you see yourself studying business in London, Sydney, or Shanghai? Can you imagine travelling to Dublin or Morocco to study political science and international relations? These are just a few of the exciting possibilities you can explore through Hood’s affiliated programs.     

Will your credits transfer? Yes, if you participate in a Hood-affiliated program. And yes, if you participate in a non-Hood-affiliated program and earn at least a C- or higher.  

When are the deadlines? Make sure you start the application process early so you can research scholarship opportunities and gather necessary documents. Most of our affiliated programs have application deadlines in early to mid-October. Scholarship deadlines vary. The Shirley Conner Hardinge scholarship, which is coordinated through my office, is due October 30 this fall for spring programs and February 28 for summer and fall 2018 programs.  

Who do you need to meet with? First, meet with me to identify the best program and to get started on the application process. Next, meet with your adviser to discuss your plans. Then go to the Registrar and pick up a Petition to Study Away/Study Abroad form. Set up a meeting with Susan Erb in the Financial Aid Office to discuss your financial aid options. Fill out the Petition to Study Away in consultation with your academic adviser and obtain the necessary signatures from the Registrar, Financial Aid, appropriate departmental chairs, and the Director of Study Abroad. Return the completed Petition to the Registrar’s Office. If you plan to do an internship abroad, you need to meet with Dr. Lisa Littlefield in the Career Center.       

I am excited to be the new Director of Study Abroad at Hood College. I welcome all students interested in study abroad to meet with me in my office in Tatem 220 to talk about short-term or longer study abroad opportunities. Just send me an email at pincikowski@hood.edu or call me at extension #3475, and we can set up a meeting. After we talk, who knows what adventures abroad await you. 

Dr. Scott Pincikowski             

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