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Maddy Mitchell / Gavel Media

The Looming Threat of OIP

OIP: Office of International Poopyheads

As we speak, I have just received yet another email from the Office of International programs reminding me that it’s now October, and I should be preparing for January study abroad application due dates quickly approaching. The reminders and to-do list surrounding preparations for studying abroad are seemingly endless.

It all starts with the initial Study Abroad 101 meeting, where the OIP regurgitates 45 minutes worth of information clearly listed on their website. At this point, you will question whether your personal recreation of the iconic Cheetah Girls dance sequence in Barcelona is even worth it. OIP has a knack for miraculously creating a paradox of making you feel completely overprepared and yet at the same time, woefully unprepared. You may feel a wave of stress as they politely explain that you have to list six different options for your possible study abroad. I may be missing something, but I thought the purpose of studying abroad was to be very passionate about a specific location or program, not six of them? I guess my applications explaining why I want to apply for each city may get a little redundant: “Ever since I was a child, I have dreamed of going to [insert choice three here].”

Next comes the Study Abroad Fair, or as I like to call it “hours of mass chaos, too many pamphlets you’ll never read, and a hint of disdain from previous study abroad students." If you thought you were confused before the Study Abroad Fair, just wait! You will be told the exact same pitch from nearly 50 different programs in just a slightly different enough way that you leave completely confused and feeling unprepared for the process that hasn’t even started yet.

After these introductions, the actual application process begins. There are due dates, meetings with advisors, and never-ending backup plans. Considering I have yet to proceed anywhere past the first traumatic step of the Study Abroad 101 meeting, you could say I am slightly lacking in legitimate knowledge on how the process actually unfolds. (If you have any tips hit me up).

So far, the process has left me feeling panicked and questioning whether the process is worth it. I obviously cannot comment on all other schools, but I feel like BC has a comparatively competitive and difficult study abroad process. Something that has been hailed a “college must” has become a stressful burden on top of the everyday stress of my constant existence. I know OIP isn’t intentionally trying to make my life a living hell with the crazy advising sessions and constant emails, but it sure feels like it! 

All I’m saying is, OIP should make studying abroad a little more feasible by lightening the load a little! I’m just out here trying to study in Rome so I can meet my future Italian husband duet partner named Paolo and this long process is cramping my style! (For clarification, I am referencing The Lizzie McGuire Movie and yes, you should be embarrassed if you didn’t get that).

If it’s any consolation to my fellow strugglers out there, we are all in this mess together! Hold on to hope that someday next year, maybe we can meet up in the Italian countryside and cheers to the fact we made it through. I promise to bring Paolo.

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