Fly Away From Home
Proposed changes make study abroad more accessible and attractive to students
Loosening language requirements will allow students to study abroad in foreign countries without forcing them to take courses taught in the countries’ native languages. Thus, students will have more opportunities to learn about new cultures, and non-humanities concentrators and others who have not focused on languages at Harvard will also be able to study abroad for credit.
Additionally, as long as the Core Curriculum remains intact, students should be able to receive Foreign Cultures credit for most courses taken out of residence. Although the courses themselves may not follow the strict Core guidelines or format, culture courses taken abroad can grant insights and opportunities for more in-depth learning that classrooms in Cambridge are unable to provide.
In order to facilitate students’ study out of residence, the administration should create an extensive list of pre-approved programs and courses at foreign institutions for which Harvard students would automatically receive credit. In creating this list, the administration should take into account the varying motives of students studying abroad and create a group of programs that will satisfy the needs of most students. The College should not set up insulated Harvard campuses abroad, directly or indirectly; part of the value of study abroad is the ability to interact closely with a new culture.
College is, for most students, the first and only chance to live and learn in a foreign country. Harvard has neglected this aspect of the undergraduate experience for far too long. Loosening language restrictions, giving credit for Core requirements and creating pre-approved foreign programs are important steps towards making study abroad an accessible and valuable experience for Harvard undergraduates. We would urge the Faculty to accept and approve the council’s recommendations as soon as possible.