Study abroad program cut because of lack of interest

The European Liberal Arts Program Spring Break Tour, a study abroad opportunity spearheaded by Florida State University but promoted by Florida A&M University was canceled due to lack of interest.

The tour involved a visit to London and Paris in conjunction with an online arts and humanities class. It was an opportunity for students to travel abroad and become immersed in other cultures while earning credits.

Despite the incentives, according to representatives at the Study Abroad Department at FSU, the program was not able to generate enough interest to continue.

It’s part of the reason this was a joint effort,” said Myra Walton, coordinator for International Studies and Curricula. “We were attempting to pull students from both schools to get high enough numbers to continue the program.”

This is not, however, an isolated situation.

Over the years, the number of FAMU students studying abroad has been consistently low. Within the past four years, 157 students have studied abroad.

Aaron Lancaster, 17, a first-year general studies student from Louisville, Md., spent three weeks in China for a study abroad program at Johns Hopkins University.

It was an excellent opportunity to meet new people,” Lancaster said. “It helped me form a more global perspective by actually getting to see a different country.”

 Lancaster said he brought back to the U.S an insight that can only be gained from spending time in a different country. 

Coordinator for the FAMU study abroad program, Karen Mitchell said most students who are deterred from pursuing study abroad are such because of popular misconceptions and lack of knowledge of the benefits.

An obstacle for some students is the price. 

Mitchell said finding the funds is the hardest, most time-consuming part of the process but that is the responsibility of the student.

 “Students want it to be absolutely free and this is not possible,” Mitchell said. “The money must be raised.”

She suggests students write to sponsors with requests for funds, apply for scholarships and stretch their present financial aid as far as it will go.

Mitchell said some students have waited until after graduation to explore the possibility of studying abroad.

Some students lack the motivation to do this and just want to get through college and graduate,” Mitchell said. “It is perseverance; in the end it all comes down to the student.”