GW adds study abroad options

Study abroad officials added more than 100 locations to its list of affiliated programs last week following last semester’s decision to stop accepting credit from more than 5,000 unaffiliated programs.

The school added 126 study abroad locations to its list of GW-affiliated programs, bringing the total number to 213. The final list for the fall, which still has several locations pending approval, will be available March 1.

The University decided in October to stop accepting academic credit from unaffiliated programs to ensure “integrity” and “reputation” of the GW degree.

Since its decision, the office added 11 countries and doubled the number of cities available. The preliminary list now includes new locations like Bolivia, Kenya, Ecuador, Mali and Uganda.

The American Universities of Cairo and Rome and Arcadia, a program that offers unique internships in 10 countries and parliamentary internships in the United Kingdom, also joined the affiliated list.

Lynn Leonard, director of the Office of Study Abroad, said the additions were also made to better accommodate the growing number of students studying abroad. The number of students studying abroad increased by almost 40 students this year from 681 last year to 715 this year.

The study abroad office will open a petition process March 3 for students with “exceptional needs academically, culturally or linguistically” that cannot be satisfied by any programs on the list, Leonard said. Students will have to do a considerable amount of research and have a letter of endorsement from a faculty member in order to have their petitions granted, she added.

Leonard said an exception will be made for students wishing to study in Israel. The University currently does not affiliate with any programs in Israel, but she said GW is allowing students to enroll in a consortium of four Israeli universities.

The Office of Study Abroad plans to continue evaluating programs and intends to have a more extensive list next fall.

Some students said they are excited to enroll in GW’s new affiliated programs.

Sophomore Amit Kumar said Arcadia’s universities seem reputable and he hopes to intern at an investment bank in England.

However, some students said they would not study at a newly added institution that does not have a campus-wide reputation yet.

Although officials said the new policy was instituted in students’ best academic interests, some students said GW has included only programs that will aid the University financially.

Most affiliated programs mirror GW’s $13,885 per semester tuition. Many unaffiliated programs cost significantly less, including those at public universities.

“I think we are going to get an amazing experience, whether the program is affiliated with GW or not,” sophomore Meira Weingarten said. “It makes me feel like (GW) is just trying to get our money.”

However, Leonard said the students who rely on financial aid, which can be used for GW-affiliated programs, and students who do not have financial restrictions will both benefit from the new policy.

“Before, we simply had two (financial) orbits,” Leonard said. She said students who rely on financial aid and those who can afford any program are at the same level.

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