Staff Editorial

As seniors face the upcoming realities of life in the real world, other Lawrentians are also concerned about their future leave of the Lawrence campus — though this one is temporary. These students are preparing for a stimulating semester abroad. With the excitement comes the apprehension of living in a foreign culture and speaking a new language.
While we understand that this is a natural part of the experience, we think that that Lawrence’s study abroad policy puts unnecessary strain on these students by not allowing them to S/U any of the courses they take while studying abroad. We have always admired Lawrence’s commitment to academic excellence, but we feel that this stringent policy is almost counterproductive in a way.
Education takes multiple forms, and the strengths of study abroad programs are the learning experiences outside the classroom.
One could say that experiencing a foreign culture, speaking a new language and living with a new set of people, is stressful enough without worry about one’s academic performance. We would like to say that experiencing a foreign culture, speaking a new language and living with a new set of people is opportunity enough to learn valuable lessons that forcing students to maintain their same GPA is almost a hindrance. These opportunities are unique due to the fact that they are not as fully available on the Lawrence campus.
Obviously there is balance to maintain. Most American universities do not require that the grades their students receive while studying abroad count towards their official transcript. Though this is not the best solution either, there is a reasonable middle ground.
If students are allowed to S/U four classes not within their major while on-campus during their Lawrence careers, they should be allowed to use one of these S/Us while off-campus. This would at least help alleviate some of the stress that is inherent to living in completely new conditions and would give students more liberty to pursue the remarkable opportunities that make study abroad experiences so special.