Letter to the editor: Do not discontinue International Degree

Renee Stowell, Nathan Brown

We are writing in response to your recent coverage about the International Degree (ID).

We are dismayed that the program has been suspended, and may be discontinued. While the coursework, thesis, and study abroad experience required for the ID are certainly challenging, the value they add to a student’s experience, knowledge, and worldview is tremendous.

Students not only spend time abroad, but learn a language to a deeper extent, and are forced to step outside of their comfort zone to do thesis research, frequently in a foreign country.

Becoming familiar with and learning to function in another culture isn’t easy; it takes a whole lot of time and work – just like the ID. After living abroad, students gain a sense of camaraderie with foreigners who visit or live in the United States, and can appreciate the unique challenges of living in a foreign culture.

Such experience makes the United States a more welcoming place for immigrants, and enriches understanding in the crucial debates over immigration, civil liberty, defense, and trade policies.

Offering a certificate alongside the ID isn’t a bad thing (in fact, any chance for students to increase global perspective would be welcome), but why pull the plug on a unique degree program that gives students the opportunity to excel in a global academic environment?

Why can’t these opportunities coexist?

International understanding isn’t going to become any less important in the future, so we should be creating more opportunities for students, not fewer. Importantly, foreign language course offerings should be expanded in support of the ID program, not cut.

We hope the OSU administration will prioritize educating globally aware U.S. citizens as it has in the past and keep the International Degree as the crown jewel of OSU’s international opportunities.

Renee Stowell, International Degree Advisor, 2006-2011

Nathan Brown, International Degree alumnus 2008, PhD candidate in Microbiology