New program expands study abroad destinations

By Theresa Evans

The Center for International Education (CIE) offers students the chance to gain global perspective from almost 50 different locations around the world.

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) has partnered with CIE, allowing students to go overseas to new locations starting in Fall 2017, according to CIE Director Sara Young-Singh. ISEP connects students to a variety of countries, allowing students to study at an array of different universities within each country.

“The experience itself will not be improving, but the program breadth will be improving,” said Young-Singh. “Students will still have a fantastic time abroad but, by bringing ISEP on, we expand our portfolio significantly. We bring on more countries, more universities and students have a greater selection to choose from than what we currently have.”

ISEP is complementing Rider’s previously established program. There will still be a variety of program options including internship experiences, but ISEP allows students to live and learn corresponding with the cultural norms of the host country, according to Young-Singh. Students will still sit in classrooms with other native students and broaden their knowledge culturally and academically. Rider is committed to giving students a full experience.

“Our mission is not only to have our students be educated globally, but to educate our exchange students as well,” said Young-Singh. “This is how we can be a full circle and that’s the beauty of the program.  Different countries are learning about each other. It’s globally beneficial because students are learning about opposing cultures and further proving stereotypes wrong. Breaking down stereotypes is what studying abroad is essentially about.”

Young-Singh recommends when students come for studying abroad advisement, they have their study abroad portfolio done. In order for students to maximize their experience at Rider, studying abroad allows them to expand their knowledge. ISEP gives them more options to choose from.

“We can gain an understanding on what their goals are according to the students’ portfolios,” said Young-Singh. “Some students will find that ISEP works phenomenally for them. Other students are going to want an internship experience that involves island programs and some may want something completely opposite of both. There is something for everyone. If students come prepared for their first advisement meeting, then we can do an efficient job of pointing them in the right direction with confidence that a specific program is right for them. We have a greater opportunity to give students the experience they want because we have more programs to find the best fit for everyone.”

Students can experience living with a host family in Spain or living as a university resident in New Zealand, said Young-Singh. Each country offers a different path for students to take.

“Each student comes to us with different motives,” said Young-Singh. “Some students will probably go more than once. They are maximizing their experience at Rider. Prices are compromisable compared to Rider. A number of students have no idea they can get scholarships and are able to afford to go more than once. We have such a robust portfolio.”

Scholarships can be offered from the host’s national government. According to Young-Singh, New Zealand offers a scholarship for up to $15,000. There are three different tiers of scholarships. In addition to the host’s government, some come from the state side and others are private. As ISEP started as a nonprofit, government-initiated program, funds are kept specifically for studying abroad and there is a lot of money available to students.

“The expansion of countries is what we can all be very excited about,” said Young-Singh. “On the flip side, the expansion of Rider’s student body is exciting. We are moving in a totally global sense by educating everyone we receive and educating our own students about the world. I’m excited to send our kids off, but I’m really excited to see who we receive because we already have such a robust international student population, but to see that expand is very exciting. What they’re going to bring to our community here is going to be phenomenal.”

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