CU is contacting the students studying abroad and is awaiting more information following a massive earthquake.
After a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand Tuesday afternoon, CU has contacted students currently studying at the University of Canterbury located in Christchurch.
Currently there are four students studying abroad in New Zealand. Larry Bell, director of international education at CU, said there are some students in Wellington, Christchurch and another city in New Zealand.
“We have been in touch with all of our students, they are all safe,” Bell said. “We have also been in touch with their parents.”
Bell is not only contacting students and parents but also the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
“They [The University of Canterbury] are making a decision today about when they will reopen and how they will manage if they reopen or not,” Bell said.
Depending on the decision made today, Bell said CU will choose what is best for the students in the affected area.
“We may place them in other programs in New Zealand, we may offer them to go to Australia, whatever allows them to finish their semester,” Bell said.
Bell said recent events in Egypt also caused students to be moved into other study abroad programs.
“We arranged an equivocal program,” he said. “Insurance covers most of it while we [the school] cover some of it.”
Not only does the university have students in New Zealand, but also there is one student studying abroad here at CU who is from New Zealand, Bell said.
Bell said he and others have contacted the student and let them know about the services here on campus such as the victim assistance and psychological services. There are also Libyan students at CU and they have also been contacted following recent political unrest.
Bell stresses that there are events that happen, both politically and environmentally, that are unexpected.
“It isn’t about being in another country, it is about being prepared in another country; that is the important thing,” Bell said.
Catherine Bogart, a 18-year-old freshman pre-journalism and political science double-major, said she is thinking about studying abroad in New Zealand and Australia but isn’t concerned about political or environmental disasters.
“I feel that you shouldn’t not go to a place you want to just because of uncertainty; I think you would always regret it,” Bogart said. “I think it is just really bad timing.”
Ethan Zhao, a 19-year-old sophomore finance major, said he looks at studying abroad in ways that will only help him in his future.
“I look at it [studying abroad] in terms of what you can get out of the program,” Zhao said. “Long-term benefits for personal development, in terms of seeing the world.”
The process of applying for study abroad has several meetings but the three main workshops focus on certain issues to prepare each student.
Bell said Study Abroad 101 informs the students of the services CU offers abroad. Next are a general meeting for students who want to study abroad and then the site-specific meetings.
“In that setting [site-specific meeting] we give them information on the variety of things that might come up in travel,” Bell said.
These include how to keep your passport safe while traveling, registering your travel plan with the state department, learning about different types of cell phones that would be useful abroad and many additional issues and questions, he said.
“We care about you more than just students while you are here,” Bell said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Elaine Cromie at Elaine.email@example.com.