Short-term programs provide flexibility

Winterim study abroad trips offer escape from Wisconsin

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Short-term programs provide flexibility

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Story by Jessie Tremmel, Op/Ed Editor

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Last winter, there was a 100-degree difference in temperature between Eau Claire and Jamaica. This winterim, eight UW-Eau Claire students will join Carey Applegate and Kathy Rex in Jamaica, working on transnationalism in the country.

Italy, India, Argentina and Guatemala are the other winterim study abroad options that Eau Claire offers. All of the programs, except Italy, are faculty-led experiences, which means an Eau Claire faculty member will stand in as a liaison for the experience.

That faculty support was important for Jessica Esveld when she chose to study in Turkey over winterim in 2013.

Paul Kaldjian, the lead professor for the immersion, had connections to make Esveld’s time in Turkey memorable. She said her most treasured memory from her trip was staying with a host family.

“It was by far the best experience because we were out of our comfort zones and nervous,” she said. “It was sink or swim, and everybody swam. They had a great time.”

Esveld, a senior, took advantage of winterim study abroad because she couldn’t fit a full semester of study abroad in her packed psychology schedule. Choosing a winterim study abroad trip helped her stay on schedule by offering her three credits.

Short-term programs offer students an opportunity to see another country while earning credits toward graduation, Shanti Freitas, intercultural immersion coordinator, said.

“There are a lot of students who cannot study abroad for a whole semester,” Freitas said. “The short term winterim options are really great because it is a chance for students who might not be able to do the whole semester but get the study abroad experience.”

The faculty-led programs also receive funding from the Blugold Commitment fund, making the programs more affordable.

The Blugold Commitment fund can reduce the price of a trip by 50 percent, as each student is eligible for up to $2,500. Students who receive financial aid may still be eligible for this support with four-credit faculty-led immersion experiences.

The group Applegate is taking to Jamaica will study how outside expectations and histories affect Jamaican culture and literature. Students will experience a mix of tourist and local culture, avoiding the all-inclusive resorts.

Applegate, an English professor, said the immersion will enable her to escape the cold weather and will help create connections for her research.

“We are using the concepts of texts very broadly, and we are studying the theory before we go,” Applegate said. “We are applying that theory to these different tourist sites and teasing it out through lived experience.”