GW offers incentives for studying abroad in fall

Beginning next fall, a new living and learning community will offer students guaranteed housing, priority registration and $1,000 tuition grants to students studying abroad during the fall semester.

About 625 students typically study abroad in the spring, while a little more than 250 students choose to go abroad in the fall. Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak said the program is being offer because GW hopes to evenly distribute the number of students who go abroad each semester, in order to better utilize University facilities such as classrooms and housing.

“We’re just trying to get as many people to go during the fall right now,” said Courtney Goike, assistant director of the Office for Study Abroad.

The Focus on Fall LLC, sponsored by the Office for Study Abroad, promises students a $200 book stipend; pre-lottery housing in City Hall or New Hall; a $2,000 break in tuition, room or board for an abroad program in a GW Study Center; a $1,000 grant to participate in any Council on International Education Exchange program; and priority registration for the spring semester of the year they study abroad.

The program is open to sophomores who want to study abroad in the fall of their junior year. They must have a 3.0 GPA and submit an application by Jan. 31, 2006.

Goike said the new LLC will help students returning from international study readjust to life in the United States without culture shock. Students in the LLC will live together on floors in City Hall and New Hall, and will have the chance to reflect on their time in group sessions.

LLC programming could also include special guest speakers, and workshops about incorporating the study abroad experience into job-finding and graduate school, said Heather Hughes, education specialist in the Office for Study Abroad.

Hughes said students who choose to study abroad in the fall have a better opportunity to get into their programs of choice during a semester with fewer applicants.

Junior Erica Chase, currently studying abroad in Hong Kong, said she decided to study abroad this semester because she was ready for a new experience.

“Had there been $2,000 off of my tuition, I would have gone (abroad during the fall) in a heartbeat just for that reason,” she said.

Rich Ferraro, a senior studying abroad in London, said he’s disappointed with the difficulties of finding GW housing while overseas, and would welcome the opportunity for the kind of secure housing offered by the new LLC.

Goike said the Focus on Fall program will ease many students’ housing problems.

“It’s helpful for us to know in advance where they’ll be staying,” Goike said, describing the City Hall and New Hall rooms as “revolving doors for study abroad students.”

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