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London Program to be updated

Eva Binda | Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The London Program, Notre Dame’s oldest and largest undergraduate study abroad opportunity, will undergo significant changes beginning in fall 2007.

Director of the London Program Paul Bradshaw said in an e-mail he recognized the need to make certain changes, specifically, modifying the current scheduling system, enhancing residence life and increasing internship opportunities.

In the past, there have been problems coordinating breaks and start dates that correspond to those at Notre Dame, he said.

“The principal motivation behind [these changes] is to bring [the program] more in line with the dates of the semesters on campus,” he said. “In the future, we shall begin and end our classes each semester within a few days of the beginning and end of classes on [the main] campus.”

The mid-semester break in London will shift to the same time as fall break in South Bend, “opening up the possibility of London students meeting up with students from campus and traveling together through the United Kingdom and Europe,” Bradshaw said.

These calendar changes, he said, will also provide advantages to the British faculty teaching at the Notre Dame Centre in London.

“British universities typically do not begin their autumn terms until sometime in September, and so to ask British academics to start teaching for us in mid-August has sometimes been something of a problem, as that is the height of the summer for them,” Bradshaw said.

About 130 Notre Dame students travel to London each semester to focus on more than 20 different fields of study, and Bradshaw said many of those students want to travel before beginning classes.

“If students still want to come earlier and travel around before the semester begins, we will now be able to make arrangements to store their luggage for them in London,” he said.

Notre Dame’s London accommodations are also under consideration. Students currently live in a block of apartments in central London, about 45 minutes walking distance from the Centre. Students from other non-Notre Dame programs and professionals who live in London year-round also share the building.

“It would be more desirable to have just Notre Dame students [in the residence],” said Geraldine Meehan, associate director for recruiting for the London Undergraduate Program.

Notre Dame’s lease will expire in spring 2008, making change not just a possibility, but potentially a necessity.

“We’re anticipating the possibility that [the residence] will no longer be available and we are looking into other options,” Meehan said.

Another major change to the program primarily affects business students. Starting next fall, business students will be able to go to London for either semester, Meehan said. Until now, those students have been confined to the spring semester.

More internship opportunities will also be available for London-bound students. In the past, some of the most popular and prestigious internships have been with members of Parliament, Meehan said. Recently, the program has added internships in the areas of Catholic Social Teaching and social justice.

“That’s the major unique feature of the London program – the variety of internships and the number acquired,” Meehan said. “Over the years, we’ve developed internships in business. However, the newest internship opportunity will be in an art gallery starting in the fall. There’s a certain group of students that are very interested.”

“Maybe by the fall, we’ll have even more [internship opportunities],” she said.