For Ohio Wesleyan students, going off campus and studying abroad can be a challenge. The International and Off Campus Programs (IOCP) office is there to make that challenge a little bit easier.
While the number of OWU students traveling off campus or abroad changes each year, this fall 80-100 students left Delaware for the semester.
When the students return, IOCP helps them readjust to campus life by offering a returnee session, Crossing Boarders sessions, student evaluations, study abroad assessments and a number of other group activities.
“Each program has its own system of evaluation,” said director of IOCP Darrell Albon.
IOCP is also adding a group called The New Cosmopolitans, which stems from an old OWU group called the Cosmopolitans Club that existed in the 19th and early 20th century.
The New Cosmopolitans will serve as a peer-advising program for both domestic and international students. It is designed to support students interested in studying abroad through preparation and orientation.
While abroad, students stay in contact with faculty in a variety of different ways depending on the program they’re in.
“For the first five weeks I think everyone has a weekly meeting with their advisor, it’s sort of a lecture,” said senior Ian Boyle, who participated in the New York Arts Program last fall.
Boyle worked in the property shop for a public theatre, among other things. He compared it to working a full-time job.
In addition to staying in contact with faculty, frequent emails are sent out from OWU staff back on campus to keep off campus students informed.
“We want them to be fully engaged in the culture, but we want them to have a well-circumscribed relationship with OWU,” Albon said. “We really want them to be careful, it’s so easy to be in one country and live virtually in another country.”
For junior Meghan Guthrie, who took part in the Salamanca program in Spain, this was not a problem.
“I believe most (students) did have pretty good contact with professors while abroad,” Guthrie said. “It was easy to keep in touch through email about any questions/concerns we might have had.”
Albon did mentioned that some students abroad this semester were having difficulty receiving emails from OWU because of a “glitch in the system,” but that it has been taken care of.
Another difficulty in the past has been selecting housing and scheduling classes from abroad. Many students are too busy with their schedules to remember when the selecting takes place.
“It was out of the blue, it didn’t even occur to me,” Boyle said.
Boyle went on to say that once he figured out the time for scheduling, he had no problems with it. Guthrie had a similar experience.
“I was luckily able to figure things out and schedule for the classes I wanted and needed,” Guthrie said. “The only thing that made us nervous was being in a different country and having the time difference.”