The Study Abroad Office helped and advised over 698 students to study abroad in 28 different countries in 2019. Many of these students have already had their abroad experiences, while others are currently gearing up for their winter break study abroad or spring semester abroad. The office will continue to help students with their plans and applications for 2020.
Katie Radande, director of the Study Abroad Office, said the office will be open during winter break to help students with their plans and to answer any questions.
“While students are spending time with their families over break and planning for the next year, it’s a great opportunity for students to reach us either by email or phone,” Radande said. “We work to help all students be successful in their application and be able to participate in an abroad experience.”
Over 90 percent of all applicants were able to experience living and learning in a different country. Lehigh requires students to have a minimum GPA of 2.7 in order to study abroad during the fall or spring semesters, and a 2.0 GPA in order to go abroad during summer, winter or spring breaks.
The office conducts two surveys before and after students leave, in addition to hosting study abroad mandatory pre-departure sessions.
Beatrice Pinetti, ‘22, studied abroad last summer in Shanghai.
“I felt that all that was needed to know was communicated through the study abroad mandatory sessions,” Pinetti said. “My passport expired and I didn’t even notice. If the office hadn’t pointed it out to me, I wouldn’t have been able to go.”
Brian Wasserman is a study abroad advisor for the PC Rossin College Of Engineering and Applied Science.
He said there is a study abroad advisor who represents each college.
“Our advising model enables us to support all students interested in studying abroad,” Wasserman said. “Our office advises students based on their academic college.”
Wasserman also shared three steps to guide new students who are considering studying abroad. First, students should discuss how study abroad fits into their academic plan with their academic or faculty advisor. Then, students should visit the study abroad website to see the opportunities available. Finally, after conducting some research, students can find the YouCanBookMe calendar link for their advisor on the study abroad website.
Wasserman said his office works closely with the Office of International Affairs to connect students with international internship and research opportunities. Also, the office collaborates with the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity on the Passport to Success program, creating pathways to international education for first-generation students.
Soren Bugtong, ‘22, is going to study abroad next semester in Sydney, Australia.
“I’ve had a very positive experience with the Study Abroad Office,” Bugtong said. “My advisor, Ms. Gemmel, was very kind and helpful throughout the entire application process. She reached out to professors for course approvals on my behalf and gave me advice on which courses for which to register. I’d say they’re very welcoming and supportive of what you want to do.”
Radande said it’s “very special” when students return from studying abroad sharing their experiences, achievements and challenges. She said she is amazed by the amount they learn and grow while abroad.
“We look forward to making study abroad a reality for any Lehigh student who has a desire to add international immersion to their resume and Lehigh experience,” Wasserman said.