With interest in studying abroad on the rise, college searches for global education head for support

By Lily Thomas, Staff Reporter

Faculty speak to students about travel abroad opportunities on Wednesday, Feb 8. at the Student Center. The faculty at each booth participated in traveling for Columbia’s abroad programs and want students to be able to experience it as well.

With travel abroad opportunities increasing, the college plans to hire a global education advisor to help assist students navigating the options available to them to study overseas.

Senior Associate Provost Nathan Bakkum said the provost office already was looking for strategies to change the way Columbia supported global education when the pandemic hit.

But now that the world is opening up again and more students want to travel, the provost office is again seeking to expand those efforts.

Bakkum said a global education advisor will report to David Comp, assistant provost of Global Education. The new position will be geared toward students to help them understand the opportunities available and the logistics of studying abroad.

Comp said this will allow him to focus on internal processes to make sure students can apply for programs and engage more with external partners to build stronger partnerships.

Comp currently overseas everything, working with students, faculty and partner schools like the University of Greenwich and Universidad Peruana.

Students interested in studying abroad had an opportunity this week to explore some of the options for this upcoming summer and 2023-2024 school year.

Faculty are leading programs in Spain, Ireland, Germany, Paris, Prague and Argentina, among other places.

Students from all majors converse with faculty in the main foyer of the Student Center on topics of travel and studying abroad on Wednesday, Feb 8.

Event organizer Monika Jaiswal-Oliver, an adjunct marketing professor, said students can earn three to six credit hours and explore another cultural perspective within their discipline.

Kylie Reuter, freshman musical theatre major, said she is interested in visiting Italy, one of the options. She also picked up flyers for programs in Greece and London.

“By traveling, that’s the best way to discover all those layers,” Reuter said.

Jessica Meharry, director of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, said students studying abroad can use a DEI lens to explore other cultures instead of just focusing on power and privilege in the United States.

“Study Abroad provides experiential learning opportunities for underrepresented students from diverse backgrounds to help guide them in identifying career goals and obtaining future employment,” Meharry said.

Marcelo Sabatés, who helps lead a J-term in Argentina, said students who attend learn about many aspects of Latinx culture through activities like trying regional food, sightseeing and taking tango lessons.

Studying abroad can also be a way to make business connections, Sabatés said.

“We go to artistic venues and media venues so they can get connected with people [who] might be of help for the development of their careers,” Sabatés said.

There are several benefits to studying abroad, said Kathie Bergquist, the leader of the creative writing J-term in Paris and the Summer in Prague program. She said studying abroad can inspire creativity and encourage personal development.

“College is a key time to do it because you can earn credits and you can develop your skill,” Bergquist said.