Cancelled: France trip

by Shara Tibken

Nine Simpson students believed that their May Term travel studytrips were all set. Bills had been paid and meetings had been heldto discuss the course.

This group of students couldn’t have been more wrong.

The French study trip to Nice and Paris in France for May Termwas recently cancelled by the tour company planning the trip.

EF Tours, the company who had planned the French trip, is alsohandling the trip to Greece and Italy led by Jim Palmieri, theassociate professor of economics.

The reason for the cancellation given by EF Tours to Bob Giebar,professor of French, was that there were not enough studentsparticipating in the trip.

“The only reason they gave me was that it was too small of agroup,” said Giebar. “That was after telling me on Tuesday thateverything was fine.”

Giebar had checked in with the tour company early in the weekand was told that everything was in order for the trip.

Two days later, the trip was cancelled by EF Tours withoutnotice.

Two of the students who had been going to France, sophomoresStephanie Williams and Megan Riggs, will now be going on the tripto Greece.

“I’m a French minor though, so I thought it would be fun to beable to use what I learned here (at Simpson),” said sophomoreStephanie Williams.

The nine students enrolled for the trip will be issued refundsfrom the tour company for the $3,200 trip cost.

According to Giebar, participation for the French May Term tripsin the past has been much higher.

This is also true for some of the other May Term trips aswell.

The geology trip to Mongolia, led by Steve Emerman, assistantprofessor of geology, currently has only four studentsenrolled.

“The Mongolia trip will go simply because it is being offered aspart of the Geology program, and Dr. Emerman volunteers his time tolead these trips,” said John Bolen, registrar and associateacademic dean with rank of assistant professor of religion. “Theseare very specialized trips for those interested in geology.”

The trip to Great Britain currently has 18 out of 30 spots open,and the trip to Greece and Italy has 14 out of the 35 spots open,according to Storm Front.

The art trip to China has 10 spots left, and the Central AmericaSpanish trip has only three spots open.

Students may still have the opportunity to sign up for some ofthe trips if they are not yet enrolled in any.

“Students may only sign up for May Term Trips this late if thefaculty/director of the trip approves,” said Bolen. “The reason issimple. By this late date, plane tickets have been purchased, roomshave been reserved, and so it is very difficult to change any ofthat now. However, it never hurts for a student to ask a facultymember if they can still join.”

Two May Term trips have been filled to capacity, and one evenhas a waiting list.

Thirty students will be traveling across Europe on thecommunications trip.

The biology trip to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has beencapped at 35 students, and numerous other students were added to awaiting list.

In total, there are currently 158 students enrolled in May Termtravel study courses, which is a large decrease compared to threeyears ago.

“In May of 2001, before 9-11, we had 237 students traveling,”said Bolen. “Keep in mind, however, that was also a May in whichthe Madrigal was traveling Europe, which happens every other year,and with these May Terms, the numbers are always up.”

There are usually only 18 to 20 singers in the Madrigal choirthough. The difference in number between 2001 and this year is muchlarger 20.

The drop in the number of students participating in May Termtravel courses could be attributed to a couple factors, accordingto Bolen.

“Why have we seen a drop in numbers? Probably because of theincreased concern over security, and partly because the cost oftravel has escalated quite a lot,” said Bolen. “The average cost ofa May Term trip in May 2001 was around $2,500. Now the average costis over $3,000 with some trips climbing close to $4,000.”

Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001 only 150 studentsparticipated in May 2002 courses abroad.

Last year, 181 students traveled abroad, including the Madrigalchoir members.

“We have had a slight drop from what it was a few years ago, buthaving 181 students traveling last May is remarkable when youremember the SARS scare,” said Bolen. “With 158 students travelingthis May, I have to say the Simpson’s May Term Travel StudyPrograms are alive and well.”