In an interview with the International Programs Director Stephen Prag, he explained that the office has created a new position to direct the short-term study abroad programs. This addition serves necessary as they are expanding and are in higher demand than long-term study abroad programs. Reasons for this include cost, necessity and the accompanying classes that take place prior to the study abroad trip.
In my interview with Dr. Martha Rampton, who is a professor of history and the director of the Center for Gender Equity, we spoke a lot about why short-term study abroad might be more attractive than long term and what draws students to the Travel in India class and trip.
Some reasons for the study abroad office seeing a larger proportion of students opting for short-term study abroad trips include class restrictions for science students, not having to make such a commitment of time, long-term study abroad can be quite expensive, a lot of places the college is partnered with require language proficiency and lastly being that the college no longer pays for student’s airfares.
Short-term study abroad allows for students to undertake a semester of culturally significant study and then complete the educational experience with a trip abroad that could not be accessed in any other way.
In the case of the Travel in India class and trip, Rampton describes it as a “life-changing experience” for many. She noted that experiencing this whole different world is eye opening because the way in which Indian society works and especially the place gender holds in society are fascinatingly different to our own.
This program is not alone, there are many other programs the college offers such as, Ecuadorian Culture and Systems of Education, Travel: Discover France and Beyond, Tropical Environmental Biology in Belize, Science and History of Information in London, among others.
Ranging from 10 days to three weeks, these programs run throughout the term with the trip taking place in the break. Most programs are run biannually.
While a semester or a year abroad provides students with invaluable experience in assimilating into and understanding another culture, short term programs are a valuable alternative in which the students can still gain a better understanding of the culture than they could if they were travelling for pleasure.
Does this mean we will see more short-term programs pop up at Pacific? Maybe, but it is still a priority of the study abroad office to source better and more study abroad options for natural science majors.
I highly recommend study abroad as an exchange student myself, as the opportunities at Pacific are tremendously diverse and will surely add to your academic and personal identities.