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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Oxford Collaborates With UMB

Although many students are interested in spending a semester studying abroad, they are often deterred by the inaccessible price tag attached to such programs. However, UMass Boston and England’s Oxford University are now offering a program exclusively for UMB students that combines an incredible academic and cultural experience with a more reasonable cost.

The collaboration between UMB and Oxford began when several UMB students attended Oxford through their independent study abroad program. Lurlene Van Buren, assistant administrator of International Services and Study Abroad Coordinator at UMB, explained that Oxford administrators were so impressed with these students that they are now offering the same program available to students at other schools to UMB students, but at a greatly reduced cost.

“These students returned from Oxford with a sense of self-confidence,” Van Buren noted. She continued to explain that after they graduate, the experience will “continue to serve as a resume builder and, in an increasingly globalized world, invaluable international experience.” Study abroad programs also offer benefits before students even go overseas. Van Buren pointed out, “Study abroad programs inspire students to bring their grade point average up to a 3.0 to meet application requirements.”

One-third of students who inquire about studying abroad are interested in traveling to England, Van Buren reported. Oxford’s study abroad program provides a way for undergraduate and graduate students in any major to do this while working towards their UMB degree. In one 12 to13 week semester, students earn an average of 14 credits through participation in tutorials, individualized sessions with Oxford professors who are assigned no more than two students. Before leaving UMB, students acquire syllabi for classes they would have taken there. They give the syllabi to their professors at Oxford, who tailor tutorials accordingly. When the tutorial is successfully completed, the UMB course requirement is satisfied. The College of Nursing and College of Public and Community Service previously did not accept transfer credits, but have agreed to accept credits from Oxford through this program, making study abroad an option for students in those colleges.

“The tutorials have already been tested by each of the eight UMB students who have taken the tutorials at Oxford, and each one, regardless of their major, raved about them,” Van Buren said. Emphasizing the versatility of the tutorials, she reiterated that the students who have gone were biotech, pre-law, English, management, accounting, and political science majors.

Living accommodations are arranged by the program and included in the cost. While alternative arrangements, such as a single room or a room in the “very center” of Oxford, can be made for additional fees, students generally live within a 15-minute walk to campus in a double bedroom with one roommate in a fully furnished house or flat. Meals are not included in the cost of the program so that students are not charged for meals they may not eat. However, a dining hall is available to students, and each house is equipped with a kitchen.

The UMB/Oxford Study Abroad Program will take place this coming fall semester from September to December, and afterwards will be offered only during spring semesters from April to July. Van Buren suggests that students who wish to go during the spring take a class at UMB during the January winter session, then take a few months off to prepare to leave at the end of March or beginning of April. Application deadlines are rolling, and requirements are a 3.0 grade point average, completion of two or more academic semesters at UMB, and approval of a UMB/Oxford acceptance committee. The cost of the program, including tuition and fees, housing, six tours, medical coverage, and advising services, is $8,600.00 per semester for UMB students. UMB permits students to study abroad for up to two semesters. Students can use all financial aid to finance their participation in this study abroad program.

The program would like to thank the Chancellor’s Office and the Provost’s Office for there support of this initiative.

Van Buren stated, “Study abroad used to be available only to the affluent. Now it is available to the not so affluent. International experience has become a necessity, not a luxury. For our students not to get this experience would put them at a distinct disadvantage.” Students who are interested in applying or obtaining more information on the Oxford Study Abroad Program should contact Lurlene Van Buren in the University Advising Center Study Abroad Office at 617-287-3961 or via e-mail at [email protected].