Spring courses offer short affordable study abroad experiences


Jeremy Carney, associate professor in the School of Social Work, has traveled to various countries with students over the past five years.

Jeremy Carney, associate professor in the School of Social Work, has traveled to various countries with students over the past five years.

Jeremy Carney, associate professor in the School of Social Work, is eagerly planning two trips overseas for the spring.

His trips, one to Asia and one to Argentina, will be focusing primarily on human rights and sustainability in these areas.

The trip to South America, which will take place over spring break, is a university studies class, while the May trip to Southeast Asia, is a class for students of the social work department.

Besides traveling to their destinations, the students will be partaking in seminars before their travel, which will, according to Carney, accomplish three things.

“First, these groups will be spending a lot of time together so, getting to know each other,” Carney said. “Also, the education on what the cultures we are going to be experiencing, and third is preparing for international travel.”

Carney has had a lot of experience traveling abroad, as he has brought students to various countries over the past few years.

“I have gone to Denmark, Norway, Ireland and Spain,” Carney said.

According to Carney, preparing for international travel is very important, especially since many students who go on these trips may not have had these experiences before.

“We have had many students who have never even been on a plane before,” Carney said.

While students with various experience levels are signed up to travel this spring, these students all share something: their passion for human rights.

“It is for anybody that really has passion for human rights,” Carney said.  “Really, if we look at that list, there are over a dozen majors that are going to be participating.”

Now for those going to Argentina this spring, the focus will be a lot on the human history of the area, which has a history of what Carney said has been called a “dirty war.”

“Many citizens ‘disappeared’ and there is still no accounting for that,” Carney said.  “So what happens in Buenes Aires is, every week, they have what they call the ‘Madre March,’ where the mothers of these people march and demand answers.”

Besides human history, Carney’s students will be looking at sustainability efforts in the area.

“There are families that have family wine operations that have banded together to kind of compete with the big corporations,” Carney said. “We will go to some of those places.”

Carney’s trip to Southeast Asia, which will go to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand will also be focused on human rights.

“While in Vietnam, we will be visiting the American war museum,” he said. “We will look at how the history of war has effected Vietnam, we will look at the genocide that took place there.”

Students will also learn about the issue of human trafficking that takes place in that part of the world, and work with a Fargo-based organization, Unseen Ministries, that funds efforts in that area.

While abroad, both trips will be dealing with destination universities, to learn from faculty and students there.

While many students worry about not being able to afford traveling abroad, Carney encourages students to consider signing up for courses such as these.

“We try to do things relatively inexpensively,” Carney explained. “In my experience here, most students that go got MSUM aren’t able to study abroad for an entire semester or an entire year… It’s very expensive, so for students to be able to study abroad, it has to be something like this with a shorter travel period.”

Carney believes opportunities like the two trips he will be going on are perfect for students not only because of their affordability, but also because of the timing.

“The truth is, it is the perfect time in your life to do it,” Carney said. “Before you know it, you are going to be starting your career path, or maybe a family, and it’s going to be difficult to get away for weeks at a time. It’s a good time in people’s lives to travel.”

Both of Carney’s courses for this spring are full, but Carney sees this as good news.

“The good news out of this, though, is that we are showing the administration that these are viable programs,” Carney said. “So, there will be more of them in the future.”

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