Study abroad office needs directions

By on April 13, 2011

God bless Pam Giordano.

She’s the secretary to the director of international education, and the only one in that office who knows what’s going on. With the absence of a director of international education, the office is in shambles. Or a “transitional period,” as representatives of the university like to refer to it.

Each time something was miscommunicated, I would hear the same thing: "Oh, yes, that office is in a bit of a transition over there without a director.

Studying abroad in the fall might be the most important thing I do in my college career, or at least the thing I’m most looking forward to. So getting all this paperwork correct stresses me out (a lot), and I’m sure I’m not alone. And the best place I can go for answers is the study abroad office.

The assistant director of international education, who has been acting as director in the interim, seems to be winging it as best she can. In one of my meetings with her, I was told one thing about applying for housing upon my return to campus in the spring, and then told something different by Residential Life. I was told one thing by the study abroad office about my transfer credits and told something completely different by the chair of the history department and my adviser. Each time something was miscommunicated, I would hear the same thing: “Oh, yes, that office is in a bit of a transition over there without a director.”

I don’t understand how this is a valid excuse. I don’t think my own organization and preparation should have to suffer because my university is currently lacking a director of international education.

I went to submit my program acceptance letter to the study abroad office almost a month ago, and Pam was not behind the desk. I got the attention of the work study student, who at least knew she was supposed to make a copy of my letter, and she proceeded to try and fail to activate the monstrous copy machine. She summoned the assistant director of international education to help her with the copy machine. The copy was made, the assistant director disappeared back into her office, and I was given my original letter back.

“So am I all set?” I asked.

“Yeah, they’ll probably call you if there are any problems,” the student replied.

Two weeks later, I discovered that my roommate, who is also studying abroad in the fall, had been given a packet of about seven time-sensitive forms when she submitted her acceptance letter. I had to go back to the office and ask for these. If Pam had been there when I went originally, I would have gotten those forms two weeks earlier and had enough time to locate the ridiculous amount of people from whom I need signatures.

I know it’s not an easy process to study abroad. I’m not asking for the study abroad office to make it easy for me. I’m asking for them to answer my questions correctly and to give me the forms I need when I need them. And if anyone knows someone interested in international education who’s got a master’s degree and excellent organizational skills, Quinnipiac is looking.

 

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About Michele Snow

Editor-in-Chief
Email: editor@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @michenator
Year: 2013
Major: History
Hometown: Marshfield, Mass.
Dream Job: Editor at a magazine that sends me to Paris