Our mission as advisers is to provide resources and develop strategies that empower students to make informed program decisions based on their academic, financial, career, and personal considerations.
It is normal for a student to need to 'ping pong' between their academic adviser(s) and a Learning Abroad Center adviser(s) at least once, in some cases a few times. For matters relating directly to the selection of a program, a programs features, or the financing of a program the student should be referred to the Learning Abroad Center. For matters relating to how coursework abroad will fit into degree structure a student should work with her/his academic adviser(s).
Your students can expect the Learning Abroad Center to:
- Express genuine interest in the student's goals for learning abroad and/or encourage them to define their goals
- Be knowledgeable about Learning Abroad Center programs (academics, costs, application processes) or be able to refer the student to colleagues or resources to obtain additional details
- Help the student identify programs that match their goals, interests, and abilities
- Be willing to discuss openly a student's questions about being abroad related to safety, being a student of color, GLBT identity, religion, etc.
- Guide a student to develop their research, decision-making, and problem solving skills to select and plan for a learning abroad experience
- Prepare students with tools and resources to plan carefully with their academic adviser(s) and career counselors, including a Program Selection Workbook which is given to students when they arrive for their advising appointment with the Learning Abroad Center.
All those in the Learning Abroad Center that engage in student advising are committed to:
- Transparency & Integrity: We will be open and honest in our interactions with students and colleagues.
- Individualized Support: We will “meet students where they are,” recognizing that students are at different developmental stages and require different strategies to move them along to the next stage. We emphasize creating a welcoming and warm environment for students.
- Connectivity & Teamwork: We will work collaboratively and constructively with our colleagues. We will strive to communicate effectively and welcome different perspectives.
- Creativity & Innovation: We will continue to adapt and change our methods, procedures and advising philosophy as students and institutional circumstances change. We recognize quality as a constantly evolving process, not a product.
- Focused Responsiveness: We proactively respond to the needs of individual students and processes in a focused manner.
What We Ask of Students
The valuable life skills students begin to acquire as a result of study abroad begin before they arrive in their host country. The Learning Abroad Center considers students to be adults, and treats them as such. Advisers are available to guide students along through the process of program selection and application, which at times can be complex and confusing. However, the decision whether or not to study abroad and if so where and for how long is a large and important one, often with major financial implications. The decision therefore ultimately and appropriately the students and not our own to make. The Learning Abroad Center advisers certainly will provide recommendations and opinions on the myriad issues associated with learning abroad, but we also recognize and respect the student's choices and their role as responsible adults.
In our interactions with students we ask of them to:
- Carefully read and save all email and materials provided by the Learning Abroad Center and its partners. In most cases, the answers to most common questions can easily be located in a past email correspondence, a program handbook, or on the web. Students at a minimum should consider creating a special study abroad folder in their email account to file important emails will need to be referenced later.
- Make a decision on a program. We will suggest resources and highlight certain programs, but the decision is ultimately the students. Oftentimes it will require a significant amount of research on their part, and probably multiple meetings with their academic adviser(s) to identify the best learning abroad program match for them.
- Resist recruiting or allowing their parents to take care of matters for them. Students are better able to navigate the University of Minnesota systems and website, and in many cases the Learning Abroad Center is not at liberty to share information with parents about students' situation because of federal privacy restrictions. If a students' parents handle the details of their program, the student will quickly find out on site they don't know them themselves.
- Practice pro-active information-seeking. Students should come to advising sessions prepared to voice their concerns and questions instead of expecting an adviser to anticipate and inquire about their individual needs. Likewise, students should attempt to answer their own questions first using the many resources provided in print and on the web. If they cannot find the answer, they shouldn't hesitate to ask.