Study abroad?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Johan.burns, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. Johan.burns

    Johan.burns New Member

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    I'm going to be a 4 year scholarship holder at an NROTC unit this fall, and I had a question about study abroad. I've always wanted to do it, but I know it's difficult as a scholarship holder (though possible). I was wondering whether anyone could point me in the right direction, here. For my major etc, I think that the best time for me to do it would be the fall of my sophomore year, but from what I've read, it's something that you should discuss with the unit about 1 year out. That would mean that I should discuss it THIS fall, without having really made an impression of myself at the unit, and I'm a bit worried about broaching that with my PNS with only a couple of months of experience. Is it something to be concerned about? I know it's not a ludicrous request and that it's probably a reasonably common topic of discussion, but there's something I find a bit uncomfortable in discussing it so soon.

    Incidentally, I was also wondering about how exactly the process works. As most of the programs at my university require me to take a leave of absence from college, I assume that it will be taking a leave of absence from my unit. Is this correct? Am I applying for permission to study abroad or permission to take a leave of absence?

    Thanks for your assistance.
     
  2. k2rider

    k2rider Member

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    I can't speak for NROTC but my daughter (and several others in her unit) participated in a "study abroad" program. Most of them went the 1st semester of their sophomore year. My daughter actually did (6) weeks in London over the Summer but still had to get the okay thru her cadre and I presume Cadet Command. If I were you, I'd be talking to somebody in your future cadre ASAP and letting them know what you would like to do.
     
  3. nofodad

    nofodad Member

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    Similar to k2rider my experience is with AROTC. My DS' battalion encouraged study abroad, only allowed second semester sophomore year or first semester senior year. It is probably best to approach this topic sooner rather than later. I do not think that your cadre will have a negative view of it, quite the opposite, they will see you as someone who thinks ahead and plans. Keep in mind that many study abroad curricula are written for juniors, there may be limited locations and universitys that have opportunities for sophomores, at least that was my DS' experience. Still do it. I think everyone should. It is my one regret from college. My DS had to write a research paper and submit it to make up for the military science class that he missed.
     
  4. Moolatte

    Moolatte New Member

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    Since your student will have to complete a worksheet about their planned course of study, I think that would be a natural time to talk about studying abroad. I hope it works out!
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Agree with Moolatte. There is nothing wrong with discussing this early and let them know your goals.
     
  6. bman

    bman Member

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    My DD is in NROTC. She has studied abroad two full summers and one semester, so it is certainly possible. She was required to double up on her naval science classes one semester to make up for the class missed while gone for a semester. She had to have permission from her cadre for going aboard, but it seemed a formality more than anything.
     
  7. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    @bman did you DD get excused from her summer cruise or did she work her summer study around the cruise?
     
  8. bman

    bman Member

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    She has a full scholarship apart from NROTC so she is going through as a college programmer. Her first summer she spent overseas with Project GO, the second summer with a separate grant.
     
  9. PennStateArmyROTC

    PennStateArmyROTC Penn State ROO

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    I can only speak from my experience, and for the Nittany Lion Battalion, but I know Penn State Army ROTC generally supports most academic pursuits, with each case being considered independently. Study abroad programs and internships typically supplement your leadership/cultural experiences while in college. This is something we want in our officers, hence the exponential increase in CULP/Project GO slots over the past 5-7x years - AND - the proportional drop in Airborne/Air Assault opportunities. That said, I'll make these points:
    1. Justify and plan early - This is the most critical (and likely influential) factor I can stress. Raise the possibility as early as possible to your cadre. This can only benefit you, since you'll be able to implement their recommendations on timing and processes, ASAP. As far as concern for raising the issue to your Cadre, I'll state this: ROTC Cadre are typically not emotionally tied to 'one formula' to create an officer. A well-prepared, proactive Cadet is FAR more desirable than one who go with the flow, and allow others to dictate their experiences. If you came to us and stated your desire to complete a study abroad program, within the framework of your ROTC/University experience, we'd only be encouraged by the other possibilities that lie in your future.
    2. Adapt your academic plan - Build this experience into your 104-R, and adjust your courses to ensure you maintain a Normal Academic Progression. Remember 'Big Army' only cares that you receive a degree before commissioning, and most professional development opportunities that don't impede your ability to accomplish that remain possible.
    3. Remain flexible and realistic - Open dialogue between your cadre, the University and you is critical. The required Basic and Advanced summer training will likely play a role, and those have changed repeatedly over the past few years. If they suddenly add a summer training requirement or mandate you attend training over civilian academic opportunities, cultivate as many options as possible until there's no time left.
    4. Remember your priorities - This one is key, and in no way uniform for all. If your goal is simply to get a degree/commission, then you should have no problems, regardless of the opportunities you're permitted to pursue. If studying abroad is make or break criteria for your college experience, you may have some tough choices to make if roadblocks present themselves (and they will).
    With that last one in mind, I'll state this: the Army's priorities are simple (and other services are generally similar). The Army wants an educated (i.e. Bachelors Degree), well-trained (Basic/Advanced Course and ROTC preparation) Lieutenant headed to BOLC. If you manage to get 3x additional degrees, learn 2x languages, study abroad for 2+ years AND get married, they'll be happy for you, but that's all proverbial icing on the cake. They'd gladly sacrifice one or all of those additional accomplishments to ensure you maintain the same academic/military glide-path under which you contracted.

    I hope this perspective helps.
     
    glen, clarksonarmy and murfthesurf like this.

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