Study Abroad: Applications, Part I

November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

At Scripps, it’s basically assumed that, unless there’s some circumstance that chains your trembling wrists to a desk and forces you study on-campus all four years, you’ll study abroad. The Off-Campus Study (OCS) office draws students in with its descriptions of romantic locations around the globe, the fantastic learning opportunities offered, and the bounty of experience waiting to be delved into by yours truly.

Of course, they don’t mention the paperwork.

At the moment, I’m surrounded by it: it’s on either side of my laptop, strewn about in piles of relevance, difficulty, and whether or not it requires a teacher recommendation, approval by an adviser (or two, or three, or…), and so on and so forth. There’s more in my second drawer down. Would you like to see it?

I kid. Scripps College breaks study abroad applications into chunks: first you fill out the application to the OCS office, which basically proves that you’re a competent human being able to fill out forms and say why you want to study in another country, and then you fill out the specific program application to the school of your choice. Currently, I’m working on the first application, which sounds like it should be done in a snap. It should be, I swear. I just so happened to think about writing a blog post about filling out the forms, and then…well, you can see where that got me.

To be honest, I was a bit bored, and more than a bit annoyed. The paperwork isn’t hard – it just so happens that the information I have to put down is in all in flux. Permanent address? Nope, my parents just moved and are renting a house, so they have no idea what our permanent address is, where we’ll eventually end up, and whether or not our information will be accurate by the time the OCS office reviews my paperwork. Major? Well, sort of. I’m in the middle of petitioning the Committee on Academic Review (CAR) to let me self-design my major. They’re being awfully pushy about it, too. Four year plan? Well, that’s in the works. I can’t really plan out the rest of my academic career at Scripps until I hear back from CAR, and they won’t get back to me until after this paperwork is due.

Problems, I tell you. If it all works out as it should (and will, since Scripps is teaching me how to be a strong, independent woman – I repeat, this will work out), I’ll be studying at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England in the fall. I’m still puzzling over how Scripps wants me to “describe yourself (personality, strengths, accomplishments, and hobbies)” in precisely three lines of space. I can’t do that, but perhaps that’s the challenge. Studying abroad is supposed to scare the shit out of you, force you out into the world, and face it all with wide-open eyes.

Maybe the application is just the first step.


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