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ISSUE 116 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/6/2002

Interim anticipation heightens

By Emily Moen
Contributing Writer

Friday, December 6, 2002

Across campus, preparations are being made for Interim programs abroad this January. This is a hectic time of year in St. Olaf's International Studies office. During January, over 640 students will be spending their Interim abroad. Planning a trip for students is taken seriously. Faculty members who decide to lead a trip begin their preparation far before the actual trip takes place. A faculty member applies to lead an Interim abroad program a year and a half before the trip actually takes place. The application goes through the International and Domestic Studies committee, which includes one faculty member from each department, a student and Patrick Quade, director of International Studies. The committee takes many aspects of the proposal into consideration. They review whether the trip meets guidelines, if the program fits the site, the safety features of the site, number of contacts at the site, accommodation plans and program costs. Trips are accepted or declined by the February before departure. The faculty program leaders work with a member of the International Studies office to plan their itineraries. By mid-November, all logistics of each trip are completed. The International Studies office has been working hard to make sure that issues related to safety are all covered. "We have spent more time with faculty talking about how we will remain in contact should we need to make any changes," said Quade, "If all of a sudden war breaks out in mid-January, we have to be prepared to make changes." Students participated in a mass orientation Nov. 17. Helen Stellmaker, Coordinator of Program Advising/Student Activities, created a handbook for each student who will be studying abroad. It includes itineraries, hotels, telephone numbers, flight details, safety tips, country specific info and a thorough introduction to the country's culture, religion and government policies. Students need additional materials to study abroad. Each student is required to have a passport, international student ID card and an emergency insurance policy. Depending on the country the student will visit, he or she might also need a visa. "I do not have any of my forms yet  I am so unprepared!" says Ania Urban ’04, "I have done absolutely nothing I am completely behind. I am not nervous, though  I am just really excited to go to the Caribbean." Other students echo her excitement about studying abroad. "I am just focusing on getting through this semester so that I can enjoy Interim," says Beth Bevis ’04. “I attended the orientation meeting, and I will be having a meeting with my group to talk about the differences between their culture and our culture." Between Dec. 5 and Jan. 1, faculty and International Studies staff members will have one last meeting to go over all forms and finalize plans. Carrie Volstad '04 is all set for her trip to Mexico this Interim. "I am mostly prepared besides packing my clothes&It is my biggest fear right now. I hate packing."

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