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Archive for Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Study abroad numbers up

April 9, 2002

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World turmoil and the murder of a Kansas University student in Costa Rica last year apparently haven't discouraged students from wanting to travel to other countries.

Applications for KU's study abroad summer programs have increased slightly from last year.

"I think this is the way you make a safer world," said Susan Gronbeck-Tedesco, director of the Office of Study Abroad. "You get to know other people, other cultures and other languages."

Gronbeck-Tedesco's office received 493 applications for its 30 summer programs, up slightly from 484 last year. The increase follows a tumultuous year, including the May 11 murder of student Shannon Martin in Golfito, Costa Rica, and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Gronbeck-Tedesco said she was pleased  and not surprised  students aren't shying away from overseas study.

"I've always known there's a part of our culture that understands we need to know about our world in order to live effectively in our world," she said. "If there's a surprising part, it's this is more important to younger people than it used to be."

KU's summer study abroad programs last from 13 days to almost two months and cost $1,025 to $5,200.

The most popular summer programs are language classes in Barcelona, Spain; Florence, Italy; and Paris. New programs this summer include courses in Ifrane, Morocco; and Krakow, Poland. KU faculty teach the courses.

The world situation has led to a few changes for the programs.

Gronbeck-Tedesco said students now have an extra 1 1/2 hours of orientation with a KU faculty member knowledgeable about the area where the students will travel.

Discussions about Martin's murder will be part of the orientation for students going to Costa Rica. Students who applied for the program received a letter notifying them of the murder.

Gronbeck-Tedesco said 12 students have applied to go to Costa Rica. Fourteen went last summer.

"What people say to us is this could've happened in New York City," she said.

Amanda Kemper, a sophomore in Spanish and pre-med, will travel overseas for the first time this summer. She'll participate in a Spanish-language program in Alicante, Spain.

"I've always wanted to study abroad," she said. "Now is probably the only time I can do it and can afford to do it. And I knew I wanted to be somewhere on the beach."

Kemper said she wasn't worried about her safety while traveling overseas.

"I'm really not nervous," she said. "I'm interested in learning about how other people feel about the U.S."

Though summer applications are up, fall applications  which are due Monday  appear down. Gronbeck-Tedesco said she thought the decrease might be a result of the economy, since programs during the school year cost more than the summer programs.

"I thought Sept. 11 would have a major impact," she said. "I believe now the bigger impact will be the recession in the United States."

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