With 200 study abroad programs available spanning 50 countries and all seven continents, the Office of Study Abroad set out to promote the diversity of its choices during “I Love Study Abroad Week” from Jan. 30 to Feb. 3. 

On Monday, Jan. 30, they held their “Celebrating Languages” event in the Shiffman Humanities Center, advertising various study abroad programs for students taking Arabic, Korean, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, German, and Italian language classes. Free pastries, hot beverages, and study abroad mugs were provided. Assistant Director of Study Abroad Ashley Trebisacci and Study Abroad Ambassadors Aileen Cahill ’23, Yahni Lapa ’23, and Rynn Parrack ’23 were there to answer questions. 

There are Brandeis eligibility requirements for studying abroad, as well as each individual program’s requirements. One of them is learning a foreign language, and for each semester students are abroad in non-English speaking countries, they must take a course for credit in the country’s language, according to the Office of Study Abroad website. The University requires students to complete levels 10 & 20 or the equivalent proficiency in French, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish before traveling to countries where that language is spoken. However, programs can require higher levels of language proficiency than Brandeis. Foreign language requirements do not include Arabic, Chinese, German, Japanese and Russian, but students are still encouraged to study them. The exception is summer study abroad, where there are no Brandeis eligibility requirements. 

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, there were two events: “I Am Study Abroad” and “Study Abroad is for Everyone.” For “I Am Study Abroad,” the department set up poster boards in the Sherman Dining Hall detailing students’ experiences in Denmark, Chile, and Ecuador. In a Jan. 31 interview with the Justice, Study Abroad Ambassador Weini Xue ’25 talked about her experience with the Brandeis in Copenhagen program. Xue participated in summer 2022 and learned skills like time management and how to be independent. She acquired a global perspective, made new friends, and got ahead in her classes by fulfilling requirements with study abroad. She described her summer schedule as flexible, and in her free time visited the National Aquarium of Denmark and the Little Mermaid statue. After studying abroad, Xue is more open to living outside of the U.S.

Rynn Parrack ’23 participated in the Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development in Valparaiso program in Chile during spring 2022. They completed a sociology internship with the Center for Ethics and Social Reflection and studied the Mapuche people and their portrayal in Chilean media. Some of their favorite memories were visiting Chungará Lake, looking at bohemian artwork, and eating their host mom’s gluten-free empanadas. They wanted to visit Chile “because of its difficult past and rapidly changing social scene,” according to their posterboard. Similar to Xue, Parrack feels enthusiastic about the idea of living outside of the U.S. and enjoys learning new languages and being able to converse with natives. 

In a Jan. 31 interview with the Justice, Parrack discussed their search for accessibility services due to dietary restrictions and mobility issues. Parrack’s personal experiences are one of the reasons why they are working with Assistant Director of Study Abroad Ashley Trebisacci to improve the website to make it easier for people to contact a person about accessibility issues for study abroad programs, as well as making the website itself more accessible. 

The “Study Abroad is for Everyone” event occurred later that day, again providing general information, refreshments, and mugs. 

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the “STEM Majors Can Study Abroad” event held in Gerstenzang Science Library aimed to debunk the myth that STEM majors do not have time for study abroad. Study Abroad Ambassador Natalie Chin ’23 majors in Biochemistry and discussed how she was able to fit study abroad into her schedule. 

Later that day, the “Paint and Scoop” event consisted of free gelato and a paint night sponsored by the study abroad program “Brandeis in Siena.” The event is “designed to also give students a glimpse into something they’ll be doing while on the Brandeis in Siena program--painting and being with other students all interested in studying art in Siena,” according to Director of Study Abroad Alisha Cardwell in an email interview sent to the Justice. Pilar Duvivier ’24, an alum of Brandeis in Siena, led a painting lesson.

“Brandeis in Copenhagen Cafe” took place on Thursday, Feb. 2, where students could learn more about the program. In the evening, there was the “Study Abroad Extravaganza” in Skyline Commons that guided students through the application process and featured a variety of program providers, including Brandeis-led programs, Arcadia Abroad, the School for Field Studies, The Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA), China Educational Tours, DIS, Council On International Educational Exchange, the University of Minnesota, IES, Boston University, and the School for International Training. The event had an airport theme, featuring a food court and different “terminals” with special purposes, such as researching programs by talking to program representatives and returnees, opening a study abroad application, and learning how to finance studying abroad with the Office of Student Financial Services. Students can apply to Brandeis’ study abroad scholarships, national scholarships, and program-specific scholarships.

The Office of Study Abroad held their last event, “Hidden Gem Programs,” on Friday, Feb. 3. The event highlighted study abroad programs apt for Anthropology and IGS majors. They recommended the University of Minnesota’s programs, IES/Cape Town, SIT Study Abroad, Victoria University of Wellington, and American University’s program in Cairo for Anthropology students. American University’s program in Cairo was also suggested to IGS students in addition to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Haifa, Maastricht University, and IES/Granada. 

The deadline for studying abroad in summer 2023 and the 2023-2024 academic year is March 1, 2023.