By: Sarris Balcerzek ~Copy Editor~
In order to accommodate students and to encourage studying abroad as an educational option, Xavier’s Center for International Education (CIE) has implemented a peer advising team of students with study abroad experience to meet with prospective study abroad students and eventually act as mentors.
Peer advisors will answer questions prospective study abroad students have about their particular area of expertise, give advice and make recommendations, such as how it feels to be away for a number of months or how the food is in a given country.They will also speak about their recent experiences and how it has changed and shaped them.
“I want to be a peer advisor so that other students will get to experience the same sorts of things I did. (Students) don’t know what’s out there, and it’s really important to find out,” junior Josh DeVincenzo, a CIE peer advisor who studied in Buenos Aires said.
The CIE is hoping the peer advising program, along with other recent changes, will significantly increase the number of Xavier students studying abroad from previous years.
“One of our goals is to triple the number of students studying abroad on semester programs in the next five years,” Kim Diehl, assistant director for the study abroad program, said.
This goal was set in conjunction with the Institute for International Education (IIE), a not-for-profit study abroad organization, and its new program called Generation Study Abroad. This program aims to double study abroad numbers across the United States by 2019.
According to Diehl, the majority of students studying abroad at Xavier go on shorter programs. For example, spring break and summer term study abroad programs are significantly more common than a full semester.
The CIE hopes to work in conjunction with departments to find programs that are good fits for their majors.
“If (students) can dream it, we can probably find it,” Diehl said. Xavier faculty-led programs and third party programs are available to Xavier students. According to the CIE, students concerned about financing their study abroad program should be aware that many programs have a comparable cost to a semester at Xavier.
Students interested in participating in study abroad programs should visit the CIE, located in room 230 Gallagher Student Center. The center is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for advising.