French EL Seminar canceled due to lack of interest

Students said that cost is a deciding factor in whether or not to attend

Madison Sieber, Contributing Writer

The French Experiential Learning Seminar proposed to take place this summer, which focused on French culture and food, has not had enough interest to take place.

With an expense of $5,665.75 to attend, the EL is far more expensive than the Central Europe EL or the Turkey EL. The high cost would cover the student’s meals and tours to various farms and factories as well as expose them to the culture of France.

Madison Meehan, ’17, who will be attending the Central Europe EL this summer, named the price tag as one of the reasons why she decided not to apply to go to France. Meehan was also wary of applying for the French EL because of the unrest in Paris the last couple of months.

“The conflict going on recently in Paris deterred me from applying,” said Meehan.

Jenny Kawata, the director of international education at the Allegheny Gateway agreed that a region’s political issues can be a reason that students do not apply to certain EL Seminars.

“The reason that students chose to apply or not to apply to one seminar over another depends a lot on the variables: the EL Seminar topic or focal point, seminar activities, seminar housing options cost, seminar location and of course world events happening during the application period,” said Kawata.

Kawata also recalled that there were supposed to be three other ELs offered, but the trips to Ukraine and Kenya were canceled. Of the seminars approved of for the summer of 2014, two were canceled for safety concerns based on regional events. Following these, another was canceled due to a conflict with the potential instructor’s schedule. Kawata suggests picking a program that is based on individual’s interests.

“It’s important to choose a program that fits individual goals,” said Kawata. “The experience should be able to integrate into whatever they do in the future.”

Emily Lunz, ’17, is an example of someone who chose a program that fits their individual interest. Lunz is a global health major and is attending the Central Europe EL this summer. Because of her passion for global health, she wants to be able to travel as much as she can. She has already traveled to Paris and wanted to be exposed to somewhere she has never been.

“I think it’s important to travel to see different cultures and views throughout the world,” Lunz said.

Elizabeth Sever, ’17, decided against an EL completely and made the choice to instead study abroad in Lancaster, England in the spring of 2016. Sever was interested in the France EL but hopes to visit more than one country when studying abroad.

“When the opportunity presented itself to apply, I considered it,” Sever said. “But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I wanted to be in Europe longer. I’d rather spend almost six months in Europe instead of paying extra tuition for a few weeks in France.”

Kawata said that almost every year they cancel at least one EL due to lack of interest, which is almost always based the location, politics, price and the variance of interests in the student body.

Although the French EL did not have enough interested parties to continue, the other EL Seminars will continue, including a departmental EL in the history department to see the Flagship Niagara and the Great Lakes.