BOSP spring sees 292 apps

Nov. 7, 2011, 3:04 a.m.

The Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) received a similar number of applications for spring quarter this year as for spring quarter last year administrators recently announced.

A total of 292 students applied to BOSP programs in eight countries on four continents. The applications were more evenly spread across all programs, according to an email to The Daily from Lee Dukes, student relations coordinator for the Bing Overseas Studies Program.

Before this year, BOSP application numbers had steadily increased by between 6 and 9 percent each year. The program expects that soon 50 percent of all undergraduates will study abroad.

Programs with the highest number of applicants included Berlin with 54, Oxford with 52 and Paris with 42. Santiago, on the other hand, received only 15.

According to Dukes, Bing looks for students who are “unique applicants” and have interesting personal stories or reasons for wanting to study abroad.

For programs that are not in English, Dukes said BOSP prefers that, “students take as much language here at Stanford [as] they can before they go on the program, that way they get to take advantage of more opportunities while they are abroad like local university classes, research and internships.”

Cheryl Miyake ’13 was accepted into the Beijing program for spring 2012. Miyake has spent the past two summers in Beijing doing research at Peking University.

“I really like China, both culturally and socially,” Miyake said.

She said her prior knowledge of China made her excited about the prospect of going back and exploring the country further.

“Traveling to a place you’ve already been to is totally different when you go with a new group of people,” Miyake said.

A full year of Chinese language study at Stanford is required to apply to Beijing in the spring. Miyake said she is currently at an intermediate conversational level in Mandarin, but she hopes to improve her language skills during her time in Beijing. She was planning on staying in Beijing for the rest of the summer to do research.

Miyake also applied for the Stanford in Washington program. The applications were due last Monday, and the results have not yet been released.

Marcus Leaks ’13 also plans to participate in BOSP this spring in Cape Town, South Africa.

“The biggest selling point [of Cape Town] was definitely the service-based-learning aspect of the program,” Leaks said.

Leaks has been involved in many service activities during his time at Stanford, including Alternative Spring Break.

“I learn a lot more about myself and about the world from doing service than I do from sitting in a lecture hall,” Leaks said.

Although many students look to becoming fluent in a foreign language during their time abroad, the program in Cape Town is entirely in English. Leaks views this as a positive, because he will be able to communicate more easily with locals and thus delve more deeply into South African culture.

Dukes noted that neither the Santiago nor the Florence programs are full and that the Bing Overseas Studies Office is still accepting applications for Beijing, Madrid, Paris and Oxford until Sunday, Nov. 6. The programs currently have short wait-lists, and it is anticipated that some students will drop out.

Dukes also stated that the Kyoto program, which runs on a different application schedule, is full with 37 students attending the program. This year’s Kyoto program will include some students who were accepted to the program last year but had to cancel their trip because of the earthquake disaster in Japan.

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