With one of the largest international study programs, BYU is going strong with more 1,400 students studying abroad this year.
Two weeks ago, Amanda Knox, who attended the University of Washington, was released from prison in Perugia, Italy. A jury overturned a murder conviction and Knox was able to return home from her international studies nearly four years later.
Many study abroad programs throughout the United States have significant problems with college students getting into trouble while overseas, but not at BYU.
Lynn Elliott, director of International Study Programs at BYU, said alcohol is one of the biggest contributors to the problem.
- Students from BYU’s Vienna Study Abroad program walk past The Vienna State Opera during their orientation on their first day in Austria.
“I have colleagues that do study abroad programs for other universities,” Elliott said. “Let me tell you that BYU doesn’t have nearly as many problems as other schools do.”
With 149 international study programs and nearly 60 countries, BYU has had incidents of students being at the wrong place at the wrong time, but Elliott said that is to be expected.
“There are about a dozen students every year that have something happen to them,” Elliott said. “We get people that are sick or break their leg … a couple years ago there was the terrorist attack in London, pretty much every year something happens.”
Elliot said BYU students are generally safer overseas than students from other institutions because they must abide by the Honor Code. Most American students who die or have legal problems overseas are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Victoria Rhodes, a photography student from Orem, who did her study abroad program in London, said she never felt unsafe or got into trouble because of the rules she lived by.
“I definitely think that the Honor Code was the reason we were safe,” Rhodes said. “Most of us were from BYU so we were all used to the Honor Code.”
The students have certain rules they must abide by while they are overseas. Rhodes said while she was in London, students always had to travel in groups and students had to be in housing by 9 p.m.
Meegan Lineback, from Overland Park, Kan., studying geography, said some places are scarier than others.
“Paris was the scariest city,” Lineback said. “But I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.”
Lineback said her group was split up and received callings in different wards throughout the city and it was one of the greatest cultural experiences. She said it was amazing to be able to have a calling while she was studying abroad.
The International Studies Program also offers internships, direct enrollment and field studies. Information for the different programs is provided in the Herald R. Clark Building in room 101, or online at kennedy.byu.edu/isp/.