Among the many changes proposed in the new budget plan, the study abroad program may grant students more choices.
Although the changes have not been finalized, Dr. Phil Schubert, university president, confirmed Tuesday that the study abroad program is planning to offer students more study abroad destinations.
“We recognize there are a lot of different ways to go about studying abroad,” Schubert said. “So we’re committed to providing increasing opportunities for students.”
Although the university provides students the opportunity to study in a variety of countries, it currently utilizes three permanent facilities: Oxford, England; Montevideo, Uruguay and Leipzig, Germany. However, students may no longer have to travel to these permanent sites leased by ACU.
“We’re looking at study abroad models that don’t rely as heavily on permanent sites but offer increase in flexibility in terms of geographic areas of the world,” Schubert said. “It’s a reevaluation of the philosophy with an eye toward doing something different and more cost efficient than we’ve done in the past.”
Schubert said the ongoing debate has continued for a number of years. A team of faculty members currently is looking into utilizing multiple facilities from around the world that are not owned by ACU. He said this was an attempt to match the students’ interest of studying in different locations and for different durations of study. Schubert also said this would save money because the university would not be leasing permanent sites that are only used for a portion of the year.
Jenny Valenzuela, junior psychology major from El Paso, said she is interested to hear of the new changes.
“As of now, I’m not able to study abroad for financial reasons, but I’m hopeful that could change,” Valenzuela said. “It’s definitely something I have always wanted to do.”
Valenzuela said she believes studying abroad is a great opportunity for all students, no matter what major.
“It gives you so much more opportunities and life experiences,” Valenzuela said. “Who wouldn’t want to be able to study in a foreign country?”
With the proposed tweaks, Valenzuela said the study abroad program would be even better because students would have more of a say in choice destinations.
“If we had more options, I would love to study abroad in Italy,” Valenzuela said. “The country is so beautiful and filled with history.”
Schubert said the finalized plans can be expected by the end January, and the changes possibly could take effect fall 2012.