The falling value of the U.S. dollar is straining both students and institutions when it comes to traveling abroad, and Juniata is no exception. Jenifer Cushman, dean of international programs and associate professor of German, explains how Juniata’s Eagles Abroad program still soars against the wind.
What does the future look like for Eagles Abroad?
I’d like to see it grow even more. As a liberal arts college, Juniata will certainly continue to encourage students to study abroad. Because of our many exchange sites, we are actually in a better situation than many other higher education institutions in the US, which are forced to limit enrollment in study abroad. Our administration, however, believes that we are able to manage study abroad without limiting opportunities.
How is the study abroad program adapting to the falling value of the dollar abroad?
We are doing this mainly by strengthening our exchange programs, and by limiting enrollment in our Limited Enrollment (formerly Honors) programs, which tend to be more expensive. The exchange programs, in my opinion, provide more exciting opportunities, as they are based on personal relationships built over time between faculty and staff at both institutions.
What does this mean for JC students?
Students will have to plan their abroad experience carefully and well in advance. We will be strictly enforcing the December 1 study abroad application deadline, so that we can make well-informed decisions on enrollment in Limited Enrollment programs, based on relevance to student academic plans.
How can students prepare to go abroad under stricter enforcement of deadlines?
Remember that all students can study abroad, but there are some things they’ll need to work out beforehand. First, they need to have a course plan. Students should sit down with their advisors and figure out what classes they need and what courses can be fulfilled with the transfer credits. Secondly, students need to be prepared financially speaking. The school does not cover airfare, and depending on the country, extra living costs could be high. With careful planning, however, because Juniata transfers financial aid to study abroad, money need not necessarily be an obstacle. Finally, students should consider how studying abroad will affect their personal relationships with friends and family.
Do you have any other advice for students who want to study abroad through Juniata?
The more you learn ahead of time, the more rewarding your experience will be. Students need to prepare to be immersed in a new culture. This means learning the language if it is not English, and researching the history, customs, and traditions of the area to which you are heading.
Adam Stanley ’08, Juniata online journalist