For many students, Keene State is their home away from home.
However, students can take a chance and experience yet another learning environment through the Study Away program.
Skye Stephenson, the director of KSC’s Global Education Office (GEO), said that Keene State is proud of the Study Away program they have created.
“We try to create a program that has a broad array of options, and we also really make an effort to a good number, not all, of the programs be affordable for in-state students, especially,” she said.
“About two-thirds [of the programs] are the same tuition and fees as students pay at Keene State, in-state or out of state,” she added. According to Stephenson, there are a number of misconceptions that students can have about studying away.
Stephenson mentioned that some students think that they may not be accepted to the study away location of their choice, but that is not quite how the process works. “Understandably, a lot of people think it’s like applying to college or university – you have to apply to five [schools], and you’re not going to get in, and they get all stressed out – and I try to be like, ‘You know, it’s not really like that,’” Stephenson said.
She explained that, generally, a student must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA and be in good academic and behavioral standing to study away. Keene State has a relationship with each college and university that the Study Away program partners with, so it is expected that students may attend every semester. There is no formal application process for Study Away program participants
through those schools.
She added that as long as a student has successfully completed their application on time, they should be able to study away at the location of their choosing.
When applying, students must choose a location they are interested in to submit their application. However, this does not mean that they have locked in their choice to study away at this location at the time of their application submission.
Stephenson said, “They’re just applying to me, to the office, and then I will meet one-on-one and go over their choice and see if it’s the best, see if study away works, answer questions. In other words, you don’t have to have all the answers to apply, it’s just kind of like the beginning of the process, so I don’t want people to stress out too much.”
Stephenson explained that there are times when students come in with a location in mind, but it is not always a match with their personality and learning style. “A lot of time people just think of the location, like England or Ireland, but there’s other factors, some have bigger classes, some are in universities, some are more personalized, some you have homestays, so you know, there’s other factors too,” she said. Stephenson explained that applying and preparing to study away is not an easy task.
“It is work, and it demands both attention to detail and some flexibility because every application and program is different,” she said.
She added that the process can be nerve wracking, but it does end successfully, as long as the student puts in the effort.
“It always works out but that’s part of the process, you want to go someplace that’s different than Keene State…it is a process and anyone who does that has to be a little committed to doing their work,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson mentioned that many students are hesitant about studying away, especially because of the financial aspect.
She said, “Some people don’t realize that financial aid works really closely with us, so any scholarships, grants, financial aid can be applied to study away… In the cases that they need a little more, financial aid will help them.”
“I think a lot of students think they can’t do it, it’s not affordable… always options around the financial piece,” she added.
“There’s not a lot of time when you can, for four months, go and, almost for the same price, live in another place and have an experience, and I think that a lot of people that don’t do it regret it later,” Stephenson concluded.
Applications for studying away for the fall 2023 semester have opened and are available to submit until March 1. Stephenson mentioned that she has information sessions posted for anyone that is interested, and appointments can be had over Zoom or in-person.
The Equinox contacted Katelyn Fisher, a Keene State student that studied away in Japan, and Katelyn Obert, a student from Montana currently studying away at Keene State, regarding their Study Away program participation and experience. They did not respond to requests to comment.
Piper Pavelich can be contacted