Friday, September 20, 2013

U. expands programs in Cuba and Spain

U. expands programs in Cuba and Spain
After discontinuing the study abroad program in Egypt due to local
unrest, the OIP diversifies options
By Rebecca Hansen
Contributing Writer
Friday, September 20, 2013

The Office of International Programs has expanded its offerings to
include a spring semester in Cuba and a physics program at the
University of Cantabria in Spain, but its previously-offered fall
semester in Egypt has been canceled due to deteriorating conditions in
the nation.

Students now have the option to study abroad in Havana in either the
fall or spring semester, as opposed to just the fall. The program was
originally limited because the University had to work with the
Department of the Treasury's sanctions on travel to Cuba, according to
Director of International Programs and Associate Dean of the College
Kendall Brostuen.

"We wanted to be very careful about developing the program," he said.

After students reported that the trips were "productive and enriching
experiences," the University decided to offer the program in the spring
as well, Brostuen said.

The expansion of the Cuba program is part of a move to develop more
study abroad opportunities based on the consortium model in Barcelona,
Spain. The Consortium for Advanced Studies in Barcelona, which was
created by eight U.S. universities, allows students to take classes at
four institutions in Barcelona, according to the consortium's website.

The University hopes to partner with other American colleges to develop
a program in Cuba that "sets itself apart," Brostuen said. The new
program would include opportunities to study in Cuba for a full year and
take courses at several different Cuban universities. Brostuen said he
hopes to begin this expansion next fall.

Lily Hartmann '17 said she's excited about the possibility of a
year-long trip to Cuba. "This is really a once in a lifetime
opportunity," she said. "When will I ever get the chance to go to Cuba?"

Through the program added for physics concentrators who want to study in
Spain, physics concentrators will be able to take science classes in
English while also learning Spanish in a required course at the
University of Cantabria. This program has been developed to allow
physics concentrators to study abroad while completing their rigorous
concentration requirements, Brostuen said. Brown also offers a similar
engineering program at the same university.

Science concentrators account for only 9 percent of students studying
abroad, The Herald previously reported. By allowing students to complete
their concentration requirements in English at foreign universities,
Brostuen said he hopes to enable more STEM students to study abroad.

The School of Engineering and the Department of Physics encourage
students to go abroad, Brostuen said. "They're very open to it," he
said. "They understand the importance of an international dimension."

A study abroad opportunity in Alexandria, Egypt, run by Middlebury
College, was canceled this semester because of unsafe conditions in the
country. Instead, students were given the chance to study in Amman, Jordan.

No Brown students signed up for the Egypt program so none were affected
by this change, said Jeff Cason, dean of international programs at
Middlebury. The spring program is still scheduled to be held in
Alexandria, but Middlebury will decide in the next week whether to
transfer the program to Amman instead. Middlebury will consider several
"different factors" in the decision, including the "general security
situation" in Egypt, Cason said. If students sign up to go to Egypt in
the spring and the situation changes, they will again be given the
choice to either go to Jordan or opt out and receive a full refund,
Cason said.

Currently, the University prohibits students from studying abroad in
Egypt and several other countries with severe U.S. State Department
Travel Warnings . The University will reconsider Egypt's situation in
the coming months and decide whether it will remain on the OIP's
prohibited countries list, Brostuen said. In the unlikely event that
Middlebury goes forward with the Egypt program but the country remains
on the University's list of prohibited countries, Brown students will
not receive University approval or credit for the program, Brostuen said.

Source: "U. expands programs in Cuba and Spain — Brown Daily Herald" -

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