By: Portia Muelbauer, Staff Writer
Only 18 LIU students at the C.W. Post and Brooklyn campuses combined, have studied abroad for a semester between the fall of 2017 through this semester. Given that there are approximately 16,000 students between the two campuses, that is a rate of less than .05% of students a year.
It’s a surprising fact given that LIU Brooklyn owns LIU Global, an institute in which undergrads – over the course of four years – travel abroad to study various disciplines including languages, culture, politics, economics and the environment. Of late, LIU Global has been working to expand the number of foreign travel opportunities for students outside of the program. Those efforts have brought some progress at Post. But at Brooklyn, however, those plans are at a standstill.
At LIU Global, entering freshmen spend their first year of study in Costa Rica. In the semesters that follow, students can then pursue further study in other countries including Spain, Italy, Australia and China. Brooklyn and Post students interested in participating in the full program, must apply to transfer into the program much like they would apply to transfer between the New York campuses. However, if a student is interested in visiting for a semester, they must submit a study abroad approval form along with the forms required of all Global students including a foreign travel waiver, medical clearance form, and emergency contact form. One semester with LIU Global costs between $26,935 and $28,715, only a $575 to $2,356 difference from attending LIU Brooklyn.
In addition to LIU Global, there are some short-term opportunities for international travel that remain available to Brooklyn Campus undergrads. Education students, for example, can go to Austria for a few weeks through a program that is paid for by the Austrian government. Also, the journalism department has had the Kruglak International fellowship in which select students land internships at various news bureaus around the world. The pharmacy program has many options for P-5, or fifth year pharmacy students, students across North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. And in the past, some nursing students have had the opportunity to travel to Haiti and Sierra Leone to participate in “community service projects” for disaster relief and to build hospitals.
Progress at Post as Plans Pause at Brooklyn
LIU Global has been working to provide for opportunities for students to travel for durations that can run for as long as a semester. While the directors and department chairs at LIU Post worked closely with LIU Global administrators and professors from mid-2017 to early 2019 to streamline the study abroad process, clearly define course equivalencies, and ensure that all credits students receive from their overseas coursework will count towards graduation requirements. When administration at LIU Brooklyn was approached with the idea, administration put it “under review” and according to Haynes and Buck, it is still under review. This means that Brooklyn students who study abroad may return to find out that none of the coursework they completed abroad can be applied to their degree. Alyssa Juris, 20, a dual major in business and journalism on the Brooklyn campus, is planning on studying in Italy with the LIU Global program next semester, Spring 2020. Juris was concerned that she would have to take classes so similar to those she took her first and second year at Brooklyn that they would
not transfer back as credits applicable to her graduation requirements. “I believe all the information on Global is not well addressed and [not communicated by LIU Brooklyn to students]. I think it is sad that we aren’t encouraged to travel abroad during college [by LIU]... which is funny because [for] a lot of my friends who go to bigger universities this is the norm.” Juris shared that she was considering staying in Brooklyn rather than going abroad after the challenging process made it seem as though her time abroad would not be worth the effort. She went on to say, “I just wish I had better guidance and more confidence during the process because I feel like a deer in the headlights about most of it.”
“We don’t really have a formal study abroad program,” said Gale Stevens Haynes, vice president of academic affairs at LIU Brooklyn. While LIU Brooklyn owns LIU Global, there is not a study abroad office that oversees and assists students with the study abroad process. Because of this, students like Juris are left on their own to solve difficult problems surrounding the process and are sometimes dissuaded from going abroad at all.
The Cost of Going Abroad
Such plans have not moved at a similar speed at LIU Brooklyn. As the campus weighs its options, campus administrators point out that it’s the cost of those potential trips – both for students and the university – that presents its own set of challenges.
Haynes says that excursions that are two to three weeks are more affordable options for students. “Short stays can be equally as valuable [as semester- long programs]. A winter experience, a spring break experience, a summer semester... shortening the lengths of these [programs] can make them more affordable and [LIU] packages it in a way that you are eligible for [multiple types of funding assistance],” says Haynes. However, the cost of these short-term trips can vary between $1,400 and $5,000. But that still doesn’t include meals, transportation and other expenses. “Students are also responsible for any additional program charges such as lodging, transportation, immunizations, meals, optional program activities and personal expenses” according to the LIU Pharmacy study abroad brochure.
LIU Global, unlike the short-term programs, included in this price is housing, all meals, transportation during the semester, and all program activities. Not only is there a small difference in price, but any financial aid or scholarships students have through LIU Brooklyn, automatically apply to your semester at LIU Global, making your study abroad semester virtually the same cost as your semester in Brooklyn. Terrence Blackburn, the dean of LIU Global, says that he’s pleased with the gains they have made at Post looks forward to replicating that success in Brooklyn. “[Post] students have no trouble going to Global for a semester, or even two, and still [satisfy] all of their requirements for graduation [on time],” Blackburn says.
And he also believes that a similar framework can someday be worked out for LIU Brooklyn. “[Hopefully, we will be] able to work this out on a case-by-case basis and over time... ...that will lay a base for [LIU Global and Brooklyn]".