Trinity is a global university, we’ve been told countless times over the past few years, and goes to great lengths to cultivate its own image on the international stage. On Twitter, Provost Patrick Prendergast posts photos of himself every month or two, shaking hands with some official in a far-flung university in Asia or Europe.
International students come into Trinity every year in increasing numbers. The Provost speaks about the important place these students have in the College, and makes plans for increasing the number of international students coming to Trinity.
Yet one of the few interactions with the international world that individual students have – the Erasmus and Study Abroad programmes – are nightmarishly complex to organise. Last week, many of them told The University Times about their difficulties in dealing with the programmes.
The endless waiting for emails that don’t come, the contradictory and vague information about applications, the mind-boggling bureaucracy – all of these things culminate in a giant headache that adds unnecessary stress and can even put some off going away altogether.
Erasmus and Study Abroad confusion also betrays – again – a disjointed College bureaucracy, which seems to hang over every aspect of student life. Running societies, paying fees, getting lockers and even registering to be a student in the first place can be dizzyingly complex and demoralising.
If Trinity wants to call itself a global university, it has to take care of its students back home who want to play a part on that global stage too. It seems that when it comes to being an international university, Trinity is far more concerned with the shiny new agreements with foreign universities and the cash flow from international students than the bread and butter of organising a coherent Erasmus or Study Abroad programme.
Students need a quick and easy process for applying and organising Study Abroad programmes. They have enough on their plates besides dealing with unresponsive Erasmus co-ordinators and unknown application deadlines that spring up out of nowhere. Studying abroad should be a special experience – not an administrative nightmare.