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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Lack of Funding Hurts SB Students

    Some think about studying abroad as an escape. In this day and age, with it’s sprawling multi-national corporations and an interwoven global community, the experience one can gain from an international study program is worth nearly as much as a university degree.’

    Stony Brook’s Study Abroad office is one of the lesser known aspects on campus. Students have also had different experiences in dealing with them. Some students have been satisfied with their experiences as they travel to different countries and uncover hidden aspects of foreign cultures.

    Other students who wish to travel aboard have complained about the difficulty of the application process. One student, Ashley, said she had only met with an advisor once despite continual attempts.’ The only real contact she had was with the secretaries, who are student employees.’

    Most students would expect the university to put more emphasis on studying abroad.’ According to Aida Mezzanotte,
    an assistant dean at the international academic program, the reason it is so difficult to get into contact with the staff of the department stems from the lack the of resources afforded them from the administration.’ ‘

    The responsibilities of running the department, which is much like ‘a mini-university’ Mezzanotte said, falls solely on a few individuals in the office. They have to deal with admissions, the bursar, the foreign universities, and maintain a budget on their own.

    Unlike other university departments, Stony Brook’s international academic office generates its own capital. It depends on a direct exchange of students from other universities.’ That is, the students that come into the university pay for the students going out and vis versa.

    In some situations, such as the partnership we have with the University of Manchester, we have more students going there than they have coming here, so the department must charge the departing students a fee.

    This lack of resources is the leading cause for Stony Brook having only approximately 120 students going abroad in 2005.’ That’s less than UCLA, Penn State, and the University of North Carolina. In comparison UCLA had over two thousand students studying abroad in 2005.’

    These insufficient resources results in a lack of staff, who would otherwise work towards creating new programs, processing the information acquired, and developing a more user friendly and informative web page.

    In addition, the location of the office is disadvantageous, located on the fifth floor of the library. ‘How many people can answer you when you ask, ‘Where’s the International Study Abroad Office?” Mezzanotte said. ‘The fact is, not many. The location makes them go out of the way and it’s hard to understand how difficult it is to catch an elevator in the library.’ Plus, there isn’t much walking traffic by the office.’

    Despite evident obstacles,’ it remains a very promising time for the International Academic Program.’ Since William Arens, the’ Dean of the program and a professor of anthropology took over, the number of students that travel abroad has increased.’ They project that in the 2007-2008 academic year, the number will increase to approximately 150. Although a far cry from other public universities, it’s still a source of hope for the future of study abroad at SBU.

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