Final Post: How’s William and Mary doing?

The final product for my research project was initially going to be an ideal study abroad program that could be used as a guideline to improve current William and Mary programs. The only problem with developing an ideal study abroad program is that it will not always be feasible for implementation.

Many students, especially those in STEM fields looking to apply to medical schools, feel that they cannot go abroad for a full semester because they will miss essential classes or research opportunities on campus. For other students, the costs associated with going abroad for the time necessary to receive all the potential benefits would be insurmountable without scholarships and aid. William and Mary and its alumni are generous enough to provide many scholarships for students studying abroad, but to cover the basic expenses of every student studying for at least a semester is just not possible. In addition, there are students who simply may not be comfortable being away from home for an entire semester or year.

When I was deciding which program to apply to last spring, I realized that William and Mary has a variety of study abroad programs in an attempt to cater to as many students as possible. Though a semester program may result in greater benefits for the students, for those who cannot travel for that long, there are short-term study abroad opportunities that allow them to experience a taste of a different culture and fulfill their COLL 300. For students to whom even those programs are inaccessible, there are “study away” or on-campus classes available.

After researching all the benefits that come from a longer study abroad experience and experiencing a few of them firsthand after my five weeks abroad, I would like everyone to be provided the opportunity to go abroad. Realistically, however, since our university is not financially able to cover the costs for every student who cannot pay themselves, I am glad that there are so many different options available in an effort to make increased intercultural exposure available for all students.

Although my final product is a literature review in the form of an essay, I will create a poster full of quotes and any interesting graphics I have encountered throughout my research to present at the research symposium. Thank you for following my journey, and I can’t wait to see everyone’s final products!


P.S.

I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude for the William and Mary library. Before I began this project, I had not realized how expensive it could be to access academic papers. From journal subscriptions to applications for permission to use a copyrighted book, the research process can become very expensive. It also has the potential to limit the scope of the research if one cannot access most of the relevant studies due to these obstacles. Therefore, I would just like to thank our college for purchasing access for us to many databases, such as PsycINFO, which allowed me to find and access articles in various journals, including The Journal of Studies in International Education, which seemed tailored to my research topic. Without access to the published literature, it would have been extremely difficult to complete my literature review 🙂