May Term trip registrations up after 9/11

by Katie Langesen

Student interest in next year’s May Term international trips has rebounded after the 2002 excursions fell victim to Simpson students’ post-9/11 travel fears.

Registrar John Bolen said 154 students have registered to travel with the seven international study courses that will go to Asia, Europe, South America and New Zealand in May 2003. By contrast, only 104 students traveled on the five international and two domestic trips that left campus in 2002.

Students sign up for May Term trips in September of the previous year, and officials said the timing of the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania played a large role in scaring students away from travel courses. “We were dealing last year with the aftershocks of 9/11,” said Bolen.

Bolen said he isn’t surprised to see the numbers back up.

“We’ve always had 150-200 students traveling for May Term,” he said.

Students said they were not as concerned about the threat of terrorist attacks and travel safety.

“It [9/11] didn’t bother me at all,” said sophomore Kate Kellogg. “I didn’t even consider it when thinking about May Term.”

There were seven informational booths set up at the International Travel Fair last week. The destinations for the May 2004 trips include Italy and Greece, Germany, Great Britain, Peru, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Thailand.

The increase in numbers of trips wasn’t enough for some students to spend the money.

“They need to have more options for trips,” said freshman J.J. Thorius. “I would love to go on a trip, but it doesn’t make sense to pay that much to go someplace that doesn’t interest me.”

Prices for the trips this year range from $2,385 to $3,600, as opposed to the average prices of $2,300 to $2,500 students were paying five years ago.

Although there are more international trips, some of the trips have a specific focus for the students on the trip. The Scandinavia trip focuses on Madrigal singers from Simpson, although students don’t have to be a singer to go. The trip will explore the art, architecture and music of the area.

Junior Kara Lambert said this trip will be a great opportunity for them to sing in some amazing places that most people don’t get the chance to go to.

The international trip to New Zealand will benefit education majors. Students will be visiting New Zealand schools. The trip is designed for any student to participate, though.

Another option for students is to spend to the entire semester studying abroad. The Schorndorf May Term trip will be a continuation of the semester trip already in Germany. The group will study the effect that Berlin had on our culture.

Some students are more interested in spending a semester abroad instead of going on a May term trip. Some semester trips will include Nicaragua, London and Schorndorf.

“Each year the total number of students traveling increases a little bit,” said Bolen. “The number is divided among students traveling on May Term trips and semesters abroad.”

“[Students] should choose the semester trips; it costs almost the same for more time,” said Patricia Calkin, assistant professor of German and leader of the semester-long Schorndorf trip.

“I would rather go on a semester trip; you get to spend more time in the country and with the people,” said freshman Matt Bower.

Many students thought that traveling abroad was worth the costs, whether for May Term or an entire semester.

“May term trips are an awesome experience,” said junior Mandy Frohling, who went on a May term trip to Great Britain and Ireland last year. “It’s totally worth the costs.”