by Chloë Hudson
Graphics by Deanna Kilma-Rajchel
When wanderlust strikes, it strikes hard.
A strong desire to travel often drives Boston University students to study abroad. However, some feel limited by the University’s options. Although BU offers different programs in 25 countries worldwide, not all of these options are the perfect fit for every student.
A student in this situation might benefit from one of BU’s External Programs.
“While every student’s specific situation is quite different, students often go on an External Program when their academic interests are targeted at a location where we either do not offer programs or do not offer courses in their desired subjects,” said Program Manager Scott Runner. “By doing so, we hope to increase the number of BU students enriching their undergraduate experience through study abroad, while maintaining degree progress.”
Since the 2011/2012 academic year, approximately 500 BU students participated in External Programs spanning over 70 countries and 180 different cities. These students have worked with over 300 different universities and organizations and pursued various academic fields.
“The most common courses pursued through External Programs are international relations, history, economics, philosophy, language and other social sciences and humanities,” said Runner. “That said, students from all majors can and have participated in study abroad and we see many students pursue STEM fields abroad.”
Emma Riley, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences at BU, participated in CIEE’s (Council on International Educational Exchange) Central European Studies program in Budapest, Hungary. Riley is majoring in both Economics and International Relations at BU, and wanted to study somewhere “off the beaten path” where she could still fulfill major requirements and successfully graduate on time.
“It was really nice to get off campus for a semester, and made me appreciate Boston/BU more when I came back,” said Riley. “While it’s nice to travel abroad with your friends and meet people who you can continue a relationship with back at BU after the program, I now have a group of close friends who are spread out across the US, so I always have an excuse to travel and visit new places to see them.”
The different universities and organizations help make the process almost seamless for participating students.
“CIEE is super accommodating and thorough on details. Studying abroad can be really intimidating, but CIEE had thought of everything in their efforts to make it an easy transition,” said Riley. “They also planned some great excursions, like spending a weekend in a village in Transylvania and visiting a lake in the Hungarian countryside. I don’t think I could’ve picked a better location and program to spend a semester abroad.”
The Study Abroad Office is heavily involved in helping students select the right program––one that will meet their specific academic interests. The University pre-approves each student’s program and course list to ensure that they will be able to easily transfer credit when they return to BU. With BU’s assistance, all undergraduate students are able to find the program that is best for them, whether it is one of BU’s own, or with another outstanding university or organization.