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2012 Winter Issue 8 (March 2, 2012)

OCS winter break trips face funding dilemma

March 2, 2012
By Kelsey Cox

Despite rumors that funding for winter break off-campus studies programs will be cut, the Off Campus Studies office says the stories are not entirely true.

Funding is not being cut; rather there is currently a lack of funding for future programs.

“The goal is to keep having the programs,” said Helena Kaufman, director of OCS. “But funding has to be secured first before future programs can be planned.”

The funding for the 2010-12 winter break trips was made possible by the Peter G. Thurnauer Memorial Winter Break Program Fund.

Thurnauer was a Carleton alumnus who long believed that “students should broaden their educational experiences beyond their institution, and particularly encouraged them to gain international experiences,” Kaufman said.

Thus the fund was established to make it possible for students to have such an enriching educational experience. 

The funding allowed students to pay solely for their airfare and a few meals while abroad, while the rest of the program was covered by the fund. But The Thurnauer funding was set up to only cover the 2010-2012 programs, leaving future programs without money. 

“We are still working with the original donor and seeing if that family would be interested in extending the funding,” Kaufman said. “Beyond that, it is hard to say where the funding will or will not come from. We are always looking for donors or other opportunities to fund the trips.”

“I think the winter break programs are great for students,” said Hannah Kyle ’12, who went on the Latin American studies program in Brazil. “It gives students who are unable to take a full term off the chance to study abroad.”

The various programs include a course in the fall before the abroad experience to prepare the students, a very focused experience abroad for two weeks in December and a course during winter term, in which the class in the fall and the abroad experience are integrated.

“I think the professors really enjoy the pedagogy,” Kaufman said. “They are a great compliment to the semesters at Carleton.” 
Students clearly benefit from the combination of taking a class and subsequently studying abroad.

“I really enjoyed the program I went on,” Kyle said. “I really hope the programs can continue.”

Hope is not out of reach. If more funding can be secured, then the OCS winter break programs will be able to continue benefitting students.

“The programs have been very successful with both students and professors and everyone recognizes the value of the programs,” Kaufman said. “Hopefully they will be able to continue.”

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