The ebb and flow of study abroad programs

JACOB MADDEN, News Editor | [email protected]

Recently, students may have noticed that some popular Capstone study abroad courses have disappeared from the UNI study abroad department’s online course menu.

However, even as some of the options have been lost, opportunities still abound in Capstone courses both at UNI and abroad.

The Capstone study abroad programs are constantly changing, according to the study abroad center’s webpage. All of these programs fall into the category of “instructor led.” Instructor led programs are study abroad options that are taught by UNI professors or staff members, which is often a factor in the program’s cut or cancellation within the study abroad department. According to the study abroad short terms programs advisor, Charity Eckhardt, the most common reason for a program to be cut is that the professor is moving on to pursue other things in their lives.

Eckhardt said examples of this will be seen in 2016 via the loss of certain programs, including the cross-cultural Italy Capstone led by Dr. Tammy Gregerson, the London and Paris Capstone led by Dr. Bart Berquist and the organizational management Capstone in South Africa led by Dr. Ronelle Langley.

According to Eckhardt, another reason for some cuts or cancellations of study abroad programs is due to enrollment. Long-term programs often depend on the partnership between UNI and another organization or university. So, these programs tend to be more consistent, because they do not rely on student interest, but rather a mutual agreement.

This is where the short-term programs differ. The short-term programs are fueled by the tuition of the students who are enrolled in the program. This means a set number of participants are needed in order to run certain programs. If this number is not met, the result will be the cancellation of the program for that year, according to Eckhardt.

“It is about an average year. We still have time right now [to plan] and we still have a lot of capstone options,” said Eckhardt in response to this year’s Capstone program cuts.

Despite the cuts of some study abroad options, new opportunities and destinations continue to join the list. The summer of 2016 will feature the addition of two Capstones for Spanish programs, one in Cuba and one in Barcelona, as well as a new alternative energies Capstone in Iceland and Denmark. There will also be some new course-based destinations outside of the Capstone program, such as field biology in the Galapagos and Rio de Janeiro.

“The best advice I can give students is to be a little bit flexible,” Eckhardt said. “Maybe have a range of programs that you’re really interested in…[because] it’s kind of a matchmaking process and trying to find the right fit for a student, but we have a lot of options so I’m pretty confident that students can find a good program for them.”