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Interest in overseas programs remains high

Lynn Sikora | Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The lure of Europe is in the air this week as students clamor to attend information sessions for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s overseas programs. Study abroad programs are becoming increasing popular at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s as both schools seek to expand their overseas offerings. Though officials won’t know exact numbers until application deadlines have passed, initial student interest is high this year. “It is hard to gauge the numbers because it varies year to year due to curriculum and security,” said Thomas Bogenschild, director of international study programs at Notre Dame. “We are expecting a similar turnout as last year, but we won’t know what the impact of the bombing in Madrid will be for example.”Within the past few years, Notre Dame has placed among the top schools in the nation for the number of students who study abroad. Generally 800-900 Notre Dame students study abroad per year, said Bogenschild, and the number rises to 1,100 to 1,200 when specialized programs such as the Rome architecture program are included. Last year, Notre Dame initiated a new program in Italy and a yearlong option in London. Notre Dame’s largest study abroad program, in London, will offer the yearlong option for a small number of students next fall. It will target students who focus on British studies and could benefit from an additional semester of immersion in British culture. Notre Dame’s other new program will be located in Bologna, Italy. The program, intended for Italian majors with advanced language skills, offers direct emersion through a consortium with Indiana University-Bloomington, said Bogenschild. The application deadline has been moved to Nov. 15 so ISP can better coordinate operations with the London program and allow more time to process the applications. The online application allows Notre Dame students to apply for multiple programs, and Saint Mary’s students can download or request a paper copy of the applications. Acceptance notification begins in early February after fall semester grades have been posted, according to Bogenschild. This fall also marks the first year that Saint Mary’s has offered information sessions for College programs on Notre Dame’s campus. Although both schools send a large number of students overseas, Saint Mary’s focuses on smaller, more specialized programs, said College study abroad advisor Sarah DeMott. Roughly, 150 Saint Mary’s students study abroad each year. “We can accommodate students and their interests in a different kind of way while still maintaining the core essence of Saint Mary’s College in the search for aesthetics and truth and the support of a higher Catholic education,” DeMott said.Notre Dame offers study abroad programs in about 25 locations while Saint Mary’s sponsors major programs in about 5 different cities. One example is Saint Mary’s Semester Around the Program, which offers students the chance to study and travel through much of Southeast Asia. The fall semester program is open to both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s undergraduates. The core program is based in India, but the schedule was altered when the program was last offered in Fall 2003 due to the SARS crisis in Asia, said DeMott. Saint Mary’s will also offer “Environments of Ecuador” this year. Additionally, students can now apply for student travel grants.Also this fall, Saint Mary’s has launched a new online application website for all programs except Rome, Italy. Application deadlines range from Oct. 15 to Dec. 1.