By Kristin Miller
After its cancellation for the spring 2015 semester, Eurospring has been reinstated for next year.
The program, which has been a staple of the study abroad department at MSUM for more than 30 years, was suspended this year due to low enrollment. But after a committee made up of faculty, students and administration was convened to decide the future of the program, the decision was made to green light the trip for next spring, pending a boost in student enrollment.
“We’re going to be doing everything we can,” said Billie Rae Henkemeyer, communications studies senior and peer advisor for the Study Abroad office, about getting the word out to students. She said they plan to visit classrooms, host a table in the CMU, hold informational sessions and use the digital message boards around campus, all in hopes of reaching as many students as possible.
In an earlier interview, Janet Haak, director of study abroad at MSUM said that only four students had put in applications for this spring’s trip, a drop in participation rates for the program, which normally hosts between 12 and 15 students. Eurospring begins with a 5-week course of study hosted by Wycliffe Hall in Oxford, England, and concludes with a ‘Grand Tour’ of continental Europe. Previous tour destinations have included Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence, Prague and Amsterdam among many others. Students earn a full semester’s worth of credits, 15, during their time abroad and through pre-departure independent study.
Haak cited the costs of the program as one reason students had been hesitant to put in their applications, but she said the unique nature of the program and multitude of benefits are more than enough reason to keep it going for future Dragons.
“Nobody does this,” she said about the positive feedback she’s gotten from study abroad faculty at other universities when they hear about Eurospring, “Everyone wishes they could do this, but nobody does this.”
Now, the push is on to make sure enough students put in applications to keep the program afloat.
“Normally, we would have started advertising two months ago,” Henkemeyer said. While awaiting the decision of the committee, she said, they were left in the lurch and were not able to begin spring recruitment during their usual time frame.
Applicants will be accepted until next fall, with the end of the application period usually occurring around mid-semester. Henkemeyer encourages any interested applicants to come by the Study Abroad office, located in Bridges 250, to get more information. They have also planned informational sessions for Apr. 27 and 29 in CMU 203.
Above all, Henkemeyer stressed the life-long benefits for students, including herself as a participant of the program in 2013. These benefits, she said, impact everything from a student’s confidence and acceptance of other cultures to the way they can take lessons they learned along the way and use them in other disciplines, or even as examples when interviewing for that first post-grad job.
“It’s changed the way I see the world … I can’t believe every student isn’t doing this,” she said, adding that “it’s fun, it’s exciting, but it’s also challenging in a way that no other MSUM class can be.”