MIT...s First Study Abroad Head Plans to Increase Participation
By Daniela Cako
As many MIT sophomores prepare to study next year in Cambridge, England, they might be interacting with Malgorzata Radziszewska-Hedderick, MIT’s first assistant dean for the study abroad program.
Both Senior Associate Dean Margaret S. Enders and Radziszewska-Hedderick agree that there needs to be more publicizing of the various study abroad options that are available to students. Radziszewska-Hedderick said that she plans to inform students about studying abroad earlier, during their freshman year.
Holly C. Greenberg ’08, a Course II student who is going to Cambridge through the Cambridge-MIT Exchange program, said that two drawbacks of the program are its lack of credit and research opportunities. “It will not get me ahead neither will it leave me behind” she said, describing the academia curriculum.
Enders confirmed the former — the major issue with the current study abroad programs is transferring credits, she said. Currently there are various abroad programs that fit with the curriculum requirements of different MIT departments, but not all programs offer classes that are accepted for credit by every department.
For example, Courses XIII, XIV, and XVIII accept classes taken as part of the CME program, and most students receive credit for classes taken in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Course X accepts classes taken by students in a program in Madrid which was started this year.
Radziszewska-Hedderick’s primary goal is to help students who want to go abroad by preparing them early and strategizing with them on what classes they should take. She said that she has also had conversations with different departments this term, and is encouraging them to promote and support the possibility of studying abroad.
She said she will be holding monthly information sessions for students about educational opportunities overseas and plans to redesign the study abroad office’s Web site by making it more dynamic and informative.
The search for the new assistant dean took the entire fall semester, Enders said.
Radziszewska-Hedderick was hired at the beginning of the spring semester from a pool of 130 applicants. She was previously involved in the MIT-Japan Program and commented, “I find [MIT] a very welcoming environment and especially supportive from everyone.”
Along with the hiring of Radziszewska-Hedderick in January, the study abroad office received its own office space in 26-163. However, the space is not student-friendly and will hopefully only be temporary, Enders said.