Cal Lutheran needs more education abroad programs and spots


Photo contributed by Sophie Davies

Sophie Davies (left), Avrah Ross (middle), and Olga Zyzanska (right) on a weekend trip to Barcelona during their program in Madrid.

Paige Sanders, Reporter

As a student who is interested in learning and traveling, I am very excited and fortunate to be studying abroad in Rome next spring semester. When I applied for this study abroad program, there were limited spots available, and only a few students got accepted to this program. There should be more spots available so other students can have a similar opportunity and since many programs are competitive, there needs to be more programs available for students. 

Study abroad programs at California Lutheran University allow students to immerse themselves in a foreign country while studying internationally and traveling to different parts of the world. This is the perfect opportunity for students who are eager to learn and travel. 

“The first thing is to negotiate with our current partners for our current programs to get more seats, and that’s what I’ve been able to do for this coming spring because we had a lot of interest in Rome,” Office of Education Abroad Director Matthew Yates said. 

Due to the high number of applicants for Rome, I think it is essential to have a plan to broaden the list of programs. 

“I’m hoping to grow the number of programs we have in Italy in particular. We may have a lot of interest in Rome now, but if we have more Italian programs down the road, hopefully that interest can shift to different locations, and that way we won’t have to tax the relationship we have with that partner,” Yates said. 

According to the Cal Lutheran website, there are also several other semester-long programs that are competitive such as Sydney, Australia; Copenhagen, Denmark; London, United Kingdom; Madrid, Spain; Auckland, New Zealand; and Semester at Sea. With only seven competitive programs, there are not enough spots available for students. 

“We negotiate with each partner the number of seats we can have. We do work with some corporations that facilitate study centers abroad or work with institutions, and because of the support they provide, they limit how many students are able to send and a lot of it has to do with financial aid compliance,” Yates said. “Universities like The University of Auckland or The University of Sydney are more competitive because there are limits to how many students we can send.” 

Senior Alyssa Fellows, a programming and events assistant at the Center for Global Engagement, studied abroad last year during the spring in Provence, France, and she agrees with the push for more study abroad programs. 

“When I was looking at programs before I chose one, I wasn’t quite sure on where I wanted to go. I knew I wanted to be in warm weather and somewhere in the countryside, but I wish there were more options as to where I could go,” Fellows said. “Additionally, I think there should be more programs for people’s specific majors. This not only helps students make a decision but also find a school that helps them excel in their major.”

Since Fellows has worked with students who want to study abroad, she sees some program conflicts firsthand. 

“I personally think there should be more spots for our existing programs as well. Since I work at the Center for Global Engagement, we get a lot of applications for each program, making it very difficult for everyone to have the opportunity to go,” Fellows said. 

Alongside Fellows, I think it is important to prioritize the push for more study abroad programs. Having more programs would allow for more students to apply and more people will be able to have the opportunity of studying abroad.

Fellows encourages students to study abroad if they have the opportunity to. 

“I think students should study abroad because it exposes them to new and unforgettable experiences. It also sharpens street skills like public transportation, learning how to communicate in a different language, and learning and respecting a new culture. I made some of my best friends abroad and I will never forget my time spent in Europe. It was the best decision I have made in my 20s so far,” Fellows said. 

Being able to study abroad is an experience like no other, and it is crucial to have a variety of programs and available spots to fulfill the dreams of students who wish to study internationally. 

“Seize every moment and go for the adventure, even if it’s scary, it’s in these moments that I’ve learned the most about myself in the world. Study abroad is about trying to transform ourselves, and that gives us the power to then make changes in the world,” Yates said.