Emily Lease, Contributing Writer
Pictures by Jessica Hofmann
Growing up, I always was interested in seeing the world. When I started going to McKendree University I found some interesting things about their study abroad programs. McKendree offers five different study abroad opportunities. When looking at study abroad programs, one thing that students need to be aware of, though, is the GPA requirements. For example, if you even want to apply to any of these programs you have to have at least a 2.75 GPA and a minimum of 45 credit hours at McKendree. This means that a lot of preplanning is involved if you are thinking of doing study abroad.
The first opportunity offered is through a company called the Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA: Butler). This company offers hundreds of different educational programs around the world. Another plus about this company is that you can apply for scholarships directly and even put some of your financial aid towards your study abroad experience. The only downside is that they might not have your exact major at the university in the country of your choice. With that in mind, you might have to look into other countries if you want to take courses that are targeted for your major.
Another company that McKendree works with is called International Studies Abroad (ISA). The issue with this program is that you cannot use your McKendree financial aid with their programs; however, you can apply for scholarships at the university you plan on going to and apply for scholarships that ISA gives out. The same GPA and credit hours needed to apply to any of these programs is the same as for IFSA.
If you are intent on going to Ireland, McKendree works with Irish American Scholars. This company solely does study abroad in Northern Ireland. The process of applying to this program is different than the two previously discussed. If you are interested in applying, you must have a minimum of a 3.2 GPA and write a 500-word essay describing your educational objectives and why you want to go to Northern Ireland. You will need two recommendation letters from a faculty member or administrator. Another difference that this company has compared to the others is that you have to figure out room and board by yourself and there are less scholarship opportunities as well.
The next study abroad program is one to three years long and in Paris. The Paris School of Business (PSB) offers four bachelor’s degrees and 10 master’s degree programs. Clearly, it is never too late to do study abroad if you are looking into getting a master’s degree in a business-related field. The application process for this is also almost completely different compared to the others discussed. For this application process, you have to give them your resume, a letter explaining why you want to go to the school, a copy of your passport, your undergraduate transcript, one recommendation letter from a professor, and you must pay an application fee of $100.
McKendree also offers a program called Technos International Week. This program is where two professors and four selected students go to Japan for two weeks. The application process for this program is a recommendation letter from a professor, a letter about why you want to go to Japan, and an interview with a panel of judges. Luckily, I was able to talk to a student who went on this trip this past summer. Jessica Hoffmann said, “This trip was absolutely unforgettable!” She proceeded to talk about some of her experiences like exploring Tokyo and visiting Mt. Fuji with a lot of excitement. “I would definitely go again and urge all freshmen and eligible sophomores to apply for next year!”
The last study abroad program that students at Mckendree can be a part of is not like the others. This program is called EF Tours and it is led and organized by professors here at McKendree. In this program you get to take a class here at McKendree about the country that you will be visiting and then at the end of the semester you, your classmates, and two professors will explore a new country for ten days. The cool part about this program is that there are fundraising and scholarship opportunities, you get class credit for just going and participating on the trip, and you get to hang out with friends in a new country. Study abroad may seem scary and expensive, but while you’re in college you don’t have to break the bank to see new places and experience new things.