Judging by the sheer amount of Education Abroad Program (EAP) peer advisors who burst into our lecture halls brimming with enthusiasm, you’d think that the process of trying to study abroad would be a little less hellishly frustrating than it is. Clad in their token EAP shirts and reciting the words “Affordable! Easy! Credits for your major!” with robotic frequency, our peer advisors fail to mention that “Education Abroad Program” is merely a euphemism for “Take out loans and graduate two years late.”
I’ve been in the EAP office a total of four times. I’ve left the EAP office with useful information I couldn’t have googled myself a total of zero times. I’ve begrudgingly walked out of the EAP office with a stack of vague fliers, links to websites that any competent pre-EAPer has been on at least 15 times and the email addresses of 30 different “administrators” who all “were not currently available to answer my question” a total of what seems like infinite times. When our school has dedicated (probably bloated) salaries and funding to an entire department, one would expect answers to the simplest questions, such as “Are there scholarships available?” wouldn’t have to be redirected to an entirely different department (you try getting Stephanie from Financial Aid on the phone for more than two seconds — it ain’t easy). When my tuition fees are going towards the funding of this large office in South Hall, I expect one advisor to be available when I walk in, and I expect one informed person to be able to give me information regarding credits and my major so that I don’t have to go to the Economics department with a list of questions they are not equipped to answer. I expect something, anything more than a peer advisor leading me to a computer to direct me to a page of information that is almost stupidly obvious to the average person. Call me bitter, but when I listen to a program’s presentations at least 15 times per quarter I expect something more than false advertising.
Thanks to the futility of the EAP office, I have now made the following appointments to try to gather an ounce of information about what the hell it is I’m supposed to do before I frolic around a foreign country:
- Appointment with the (equally useless) advisors of Cheadle Hall to make sure I don’t graduate in 2020.
- Appointment with the Global Studies advisor (whose availability is basically nonexistent).
- Appointment with the Economics advisor (this one has been completed — it consisted of a fourth-year peer advisor telling me to go to EAP. I chuckled).
- Appointment with the Financial Aid department to see what level of disappointment I should look forward to when I’m told that only loans are available (but they’re subsidized!!).
- Appointment with my own damn computer for three hours spent rummaging through the course offerings of three different European universities while trying to see if there are equivalents to any of the courses at UCSB.
- Appointment with C.A.P.S. because I’m frustrated as hell that no one is available for any damn appointments and it’s giving me anxiety. I’m only half joking.
EAP, your job is being done by a computer, yet my tuition is paying for your salaries. Next time please try to provide some semblance of information that isn’t already put on a flier, because trying to coordinate five different appointments with four entirely different departments is not the “easy and quick” process I’ve been promised. Have someone who can tell students specific information about their major. Have a representative from Financial Aid on staff, in office and ready to dole out realistic information. And for god’s sake, stop handing out fliers to every breathing creature that enters your doors, because you’re severely wasting paper.
*P.S: If you’re going to offer candy at the reception desk as an attempt to distract students from the utter lack of usefulness of your office, at least make sure it’s not expired — my stomach hurts.