Laurier International needs a revamp

Laurier International needs to re-evaluate the way they communicate with students before and during an exchange, since students are often left feeling unprepared and confused while abroad.
Having just returned from a four-month exchange in Slovenia at the University of Ljubljana, I saw firsthand the problems that exist within the exchange program.

I wasn’t expecting an intensive educational experience while abroad; however, I was expecting more than what I got. I thought at first these issues were just unique to Ljubljana, but students who have studied elsewhere have had similar experiences. One of the main problems I found with the exchange program was simply the lack of communication between Laurier and Ljubljana.

With the latter, it was nearly impossible to contact the right people regarding my courses, my student visa and my housing.

It seemed as though no matter who you contacted, they would direct you to someone else.
Unfortunately, Laurier International wasn’t much better.

The advisor I had been dealing with from the time I was accepted in March left halfway through the summer without warning me.

I was then placed with a new advisor who I had never met in person and I wasn’t sure if she really understood what my issues were regarding my upcoming exchange.

Communication before my exchange, when I needed it the most, was substandard – I regularly lacked information regarding the problems I was having with my student visa, and when I arrived I still didn’t know where I would be living.

As far as Ljubljana was concerned, the communication between faculties, the advisors, the professors and the students was almost non-existent. I once sent an e-mail to a professor about an assignment and received a reply two weeks later.

Also, classes were so sporadic that you never really knew if you were supposed to be in class or not.

As a Laurier student, one would expect to receive a similar educational experience while abroad.

However, the academic side of my exchange proved to be inadequate.

There should be some way to guarantee that students leave their exchange having gained a better education as well as a valuable social experience.

Due to the lack of communication caused by a high demand for studying abroad, an improved pre-departure program is needed to fully inform the students of what they may expect at their international institutions.

In order for students to have a successful exchange experience, they need to feel as though their home institution is there to help them succeed.

If this is to happen, Laurier International needs to be sure all of their students are informed and communicated with on a more regular basis.

If this isn’t happening, where can a student turn?

Exchange facts:

120 Laurier students will go on an exchange this year.

Laurier has exchange partnerships with schools in 20 different countries.

There are two to six students sent to each partner institution per year.

18 of the 64 university partnerships are located in China.

2.5 credits are awarded after completing one term abroad.

The approximate cost of obtaining a study permit is $50.

Arts students are required to obtain a 7.0 GPA in order to apply.

The most requested locations are Australia and Ireland.

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