Op-ed: Northeastern needs to provide resources for study abroad students


Grace Wilson

Northeastern’s global campuses are not receiving the same resources as the main campus in Boston. Study abroad students within the N.U.in and NU Bound programs stress the need for the same available support.

Rachel Umansky-Castro, opinion editor

With a school like Northeastern that promotes campus resources, why is it that not all students feel supported? Due to Northeastern’s increasing study body, the university is sending more students abroad at one of its global campuses: Charlotte, London, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Toronto, Vancouver and Portland, Maine. According to Northeastern’s campus network page, “not only will [students] receive the same career-advancing education that has made us a top-tier university, but [students will] also find programs tailored to meet the unique, in-demand needs of each region.” Now that being said, is the university adhering to this proposal and assuring there is a strong global network of campuses? 

Northeastern encourages a few programs that send students off internationally during their first semester or year like the N.U.in and NU Bound programs. The N.U.in program, which began in 2007, came about in order to allow more students to travel abroad their first semester but still be considered Northeastern students. There is a rotating list of campuses, which includes: Australia, Ireland, Germany, England, the Czech Republic, Canada, Greece and Italy. The NU Bound program offers students the unique perspective to study globally in any of the above locations but rather than just a semester they spend the entire first year abroad

Having these travel opportunities made available right after graduating from high school may seem like a dream come true to many 18 year olds. However, there are a lot of difficulties and challenges these study abroad students face that do not get addressed properly. According to Northeastern’s global experience page, the university assures that “from academic advisors to expert staff, our system provides [students] with the support [they] need to ensure seamless experiences throughout your educational journey.” Northeastern tries to promote one image on its page when in reality that is not the case. Many students have complained to their peers that unlike the Boston campus, students abroad are not given nearly the same amount of educational resources. 

The main campus is in Boston, where the financial offices, University Health and Counseling Services, academic advisors and many more supporting organizations are located. There are numerous announcements, meetings, flyers and more that are plastered around the Boston campus for students to attend in-person. When studying abroad, these main connections are not as available to global students and it is not just because of the disparity within the time zones.  

I was one of the students that was sent abroad with the Global Quest Program, which sends students to either Greece or London for their second semester, depending on their major. I absolutely loved the experience, community and culture that studying abroad in London had to offer. However, when it came time to register for summer classes and for the upcoming fall semester, it was brought to my attention that students within the NU Bound program had no idea how to register for courses. The NU Bound students revealed to me that an academic advisor would reach out during the summer to guide them throughout the year, but no one ever contacted them. 

Now, the students I was abroad with have concluded their experience and, in many cases, they are left clueless. I personally had to demonstrate and explain to some of the NU Bound students what StudentHub is, a vital website with Northeastern resources, including class registration. Having myself be responsible for teaching how our system works is impracticable and bound to go wrong. These students are scheduled to return to the Boston campus this fall but without preparation to transition. According to The News, in past years many students abroad already feel nervous that they will have a hard time escaping their bubble and adjusting to the student life in Boston. 

Northeastern should take note of the need for international support in order to improve the comfortability for students longing to return to a sense of normalcy. If Northeastern cares about all students and not just Boston students, definitive action from the administration needs to occur. Students that aren’t abroad can also support their peers by reaching out a welcoming hand. Provide guidance to the new faces entering campus for the first time and in doing so, we can help Northeastern’s lack of communication between the university and the international students. A strong global network of campuses is one that encourages universal support.

Rachel Umansky-Castro is a first year combined major in criminal justice and journalism. She can be reached at [email protected]