Emma Stoltzfus–Staff Writer
On Tuesday night, Oct. 10, the lights of 55th were turned down low. Several students sang, played piano and strummed guitars on the small stage while others sipped international coffee and worked on homework. The event continued upstairs into Kuyper Loft, where students talked across tables decorated with posters and displays. Representatives from various off-campus study programs gave out flyers, stories, and snacks. All this was due to the Students Without Borders (SWB) Club, who hosted an international coffeehouse and off-campus study fair last week Tuesday.
Part of the event focused on the opportunities for Dordt and students of nearby colleges to study abroad. Through Dordt study abroad programs, students can travel and live all over the world for a semester or just a few weeks of a summer. The three main programs include the SPICE program in the Netherlands (a popular choice among Dordt students who trace their family history there), a semester-long stay with the SPIN program in Nicaragua and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities’ (CCCU) many offered programs at diverse locations (including Australia, Washington D.C., Oxford and more). With additional programs offering locations like Zambia, Korea and Omar, Dordt students have a wide variety of sites in which to study for a semester.
Many of the programs have the eligibility requirements of a certain GPA, good standing both in and out of class, and an academic standing of sophomore or above.
Studying off-campus, even if students stay within the US, is a unique and educational opportunity. Each program has different locations, courses, and living arrangements. Some students stay with host families, while others stay in dorms or apartments. Some programs are specifically focused on certain courses of study, such as CCCU’s Washington D.C. for students interested in politics, and the journalism program in New York City.
Dordt-awarded financial aid can be transferred in-part to certain programs. According to Dordt’s off-campus study page, most of the programs’ sticker prices are even cheaper than a semester at Dordt. Depending on the program, there are also various additional expenses such as insurance, airfare, textbooks and food.
“It’s a great experience,” said Emily, one of the SPICE representatives. “And you might not have this chance outside school, since after school you might not have the money or time for travel.”
CCCU’s display was covered in colorful banners and Instagram-worthy flyers for each of their ten locations, while tables for SPICE and Zambia were giving out brownies and cookies to interested students.
Senior Danny Mooers sat behind the New York City Journalism program to talk about his own experience there for a semester. Mentioning that he had listened to speakers from the Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed and Snapchat, Mooers said he liked being able to walk to many interesting locations nearby in the city.
“The best part of it is being able to walk around the city and see all these crazy things; there’s something new every day.”
Students can learn more about studying abroad for a semester by picking up a flyer, contacting Rebecca Tervo to start the approval process, checking out Dordt’s off-campus study page or asking an upperclassman who’s been on such a program before.