I’m not sure if my boredom concerning UR’s social scene is caused by my less than stimulating weekend experiences at the Fraternity Quad or if it’s just because I am another unfortunate girl infected with Bitter Sophomore Syndrome. Whatever the reason, I know that my frustration and desire to spend time away from this stifling campus, even if just for a semester, can be easily solved. There is no doubt in my mind that I want to follow the path of many of my fellow UR students and study abroad.

After talking to numerous people and learning about their traveling experiences, I am left feeling both excited and apprehensive. To a sheltered girl from New Rochelle, N.Y. like me – having never traveled outside the country except to Canada – the thought of being absorbed in an entirely new culture is intimidating to say the least. Yet, I have heard only positive stories from those with whom I have spoken.

Senior Michelle Potash signed up to study abroad in Australia for the spring semester of her junior year had such a great experience that she extended her trip and stayed a whole year. “It was the best year of my life,” she said.

What worries myself and many other students, however, is not what the actual experience is going to be like, but how to apply and make the trip a reality.

A common concern in wanting to go abroad is the price. “I thought it was going to be extremely expensive, but it’s actually the same price or less expensive than it would be for regular tuition,” sophomore Karen Oddo said.

Praying that this was true, I went to The Center for Study Abroad and Interdepartmental Programs, which is located in the tunnels of Lattimore Hall, to find out the real deal about financing.

“Students who go on the UR programs pay UR housing and tuition and the students who receive financial aid will continue to have the same benefits they had while studying [here],” Assistant Dean and Director for Study Abroad and Interdepartmental Programs Jacqueline Levine said.

Levine also reassuringly informed me that almost any UR student is eligible to apply to go abroad. In fact, by the time they graduate, between 33 and 35 percent of UR students have studied abroad. However, you do need at least a 2.8 GPA.

Also, “if a student is currently under social probation, in February, [for example, he] can apply for the fall, but if [he] does something that puts [him] back on it, [he] won’t be able to go,” Levine said. The transferring of grades is another pressing issue among students wanting to study abroad.

“All grades will appear on your transcript but will not be factored into your GPA,” Levine said. The only time study abroad grades that are calculated directly into your GPA is if you take classes taught directly by UR faculty.

Another thing to keep in mind is the popularity of your desired program. Since each program application process is a first-come first serve-basis, applying early – especially for the more popular programs – is crucial. All this information, plus anything else you need to know, is easily accessible and can be found in either the informative pamphlet entitled “UR There,” or from the various leaflets at The Center for Study Abroad and Interdepartmental Programs. It is also extremely helpful to meet one-on-one with a study abroad counselor. Additionally, it is extremely important to look into studying abroad early in order to best get your exact requests met.

There is no reason to forgo this extremely cultural and life altering opportunity. If your parents are paying for you to study Egyptian history at UR, why not take advantage and spend the same price to study the pyramids firsthand? Even if you are just among the socially adventurous who want to meet people outside of the guys who stand around sluggishly on their frat house porches day in and day out, think about how much better roaming the streets of Italy could be.

Permutt can be reached at


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