Rutgers study-abroad programs expand the educational experience
For students who feel the need to get away this summer or in the coming semesters, Rutgers has them covered through its approximately 400 global partnerships and more than 180 study-abroad programs in 50 different countries.
Study-abroad programs happen all year long, with shorter winter or summer programs and longer semesterly programs, said Christina LoBrutto, a public relations specialist at Rutgers Global. The programs can range from one-week long to a full semester — and even an entire academic year.
The sessions offer many opportunities for students to not only travel, but also gain experiences and knowledge they may not be able to get in a Rutgers classroom, said Stephanie LaCava, senior program coordinator at Rutgers Global.
“It opens your mind to new experiences," LaCava said. "It takes you out of your comfort zone. Not only are you opening your mind to new experiences, but you’re challenging yourself. A lot of studies and research have shown that we only grow really, as a person, when we’re challenging ourselves.”
While studying overseas may seem like a large financial investment, the cost for a semester abroad is often similar to a semester at Rutgers, LaCava said.
She explained that some programs, like studying abroad in London or Australia where prices are more expensive, cost more. The opposite is true for other less traveled destinations where the costs can sometimes be lower than tuition at Rutgers.
To help pay for these programs, Rutgers Global gives scholarships to students every year.
“We give awards of $1,000 for short-term programs, so for winter and summer, and then $4,000 for semester (programs),” LoBrutto said.
Scholarships can also be found in each academic department, depending on the program, she said.
Rutgers itself offers many scholarships in general, but there are also specific departmental scholarships and national scholarships, one being the Gilman scholarship.
“(The Gilman scholarship) is state department money that’s one of the top ways that students can get funding to go abroad,” said Mary D’Ambrosio, a professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies.
Scholarships can help diminish the costs of studying abroad, she said. Any student that receives financial aid or scholarships at Rutgers, including the Pell Grant, can also use those scholarships toward study abroad programs.
The programs offered cater to all majors and interests, according to the Rutgers Global website. With programs like Language Studies in Morocco, Business in South Africa or Finance and Economics in China, Rutgers has a program for any student who wishes to apply.
“In our department they can report on migrants coming to Italy, they can study media in Guatemala, they have gone to France and England,” D’Ambrosio said about programs in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies.
Rutgers Global works with students to make it so study-abroad classes transfer successfully and do not put students off track.
“Regardless of what you’re studying, even if it’s as crazy as engineering or things like that, we work with all of these departments to find the best time to study abroad," LaCava said. "We’re constantly trying to work to course match.”
Rutgers Global gives students hundreds of opportunities to study abroad at any time throughout a student's academic career, according to the Rutgers Global website. It also lists available opportunities and scholarships one can apply to. Rutgers Global also has walk-in hours Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m.
LaCava said that only 2 percent of students at Rutgers study abroad.
With the help of scholarships and planning, the possible experiences are endless, she said. Regardless of major or year, there is a program that can help expand knowledge beyond Rutgers campuses, and help students get hands-on experience before they graduate.
“It can showcase a student's skills when they’re looking for jobs and things like that. You set yourself out from the crowd,” LaCava said.