Students need more resources to study abroad
With more students wanting to study abroad, those who have to fill out the paperwork are finding it hard to deal with
Staff at UPEI say they’re having trouble keeping up with the paperwork involved in international study programs.
More UPEI students than ever before are choosing to study overseas for part of their program, thanks to funding through the university.
UPEI has invested $12,000 a year, each student gets about $700 towards studying abroad.
They pay for the travel and living expenses, and no extra for tuition.
Two years ago, professor Catherine Innes-Parker took her medieval literature students to Europe for a semester.
"Until you have stood in a medieval cathedral, you cannot imagine the impact of the height and the awe. You can't do it with pictures," said Innes-Parker.
However, she said the paperwork for the trip was time consuming.
"Absolute nightmare — bewildering. I would have liked to have been able to just hand it over to someone," Innes-Parker said.
Sherilyn Acorn-LeClair, the mobility co-ordinator at UPEI, said she knows first hand how much work is involved.
"We do a lot of manual paperwork with visas and internal paperwork with study abroad that has to be done," said Acorn-LeClair.
Acorn-LeClair said more students than ever before are choosing to do an exchange. Last year there were 15 students and this year that number will double.
"Absolutely, there's going to be more resources needed in our office, we just can't do it with three or four people," said Acorn-LeClair.
Innis-Parker said she’d like to see an office dedicated to international travel, "...where I could just go and say, 'this is what I'm doing, can you do the paperwork?'"
New UPEI president Ala Abd-El Aziz said he agrees that more resources are needed. He said he wants to make it possible for every student to study abroad.