UCI Travel-Study Programs Suspended Indefinitely

Sofia Panuelos | New University

Due to a decline in enrollment, the UCI Summer Session office has suspended its long-standing programs.

The UC Irvine Summer Session office announced in a campus-wide email sent on Sept. 5 that its various Summer Travel-Study programs would be suspended indefinitely for all students.

“After careful consideration, Summer Session has decided to suspend these programs,” the email said.

The UCI Travel Study program has been in place since 1976, and the department has gradually expanded its portfolio of programs and the variety of disciplines offered.

UCI Travel-Study previously offered nine summer programs to  locations such as Cambridge, Italy, Tokyo and several others.

The Associate Dean of Summer Session, Molly Schneider, explained that this suspension was initiated because of the decline in student enrollment for these programs. In previous summers, there were about 450 students, but this past summer, there were only about 200 students.

“This suspension doesn’t have anything to do with budget cuts,” Schneider said.

“There were just fewer students taking advantage of these programs and we had to adjust our resources.”

UC Riverside will also be temporarily canceling their travel-study program next summer as they “restructure the program,” but they plan to have the programs available again in 2014.

With the loss of the UCI Travel-Study program, Summer Session plans to direct their resources to cater more toward student needs. Therefore, organizers will be working to create more online summer courses.

“We want to put more effort into a broader online curriculum,” Schneider said.

“We are always looking into what students are interested in, and this was one of things we decided to improve.”

Even though UCI Travel-Study is suspended indefinitely, there are still other study abroad programs and resources.

“We believe that studying abroad is a very beneficial experience and an important part of any undergraduate education, and we encourage you to find a program that meets your personal goals,” the email said.

Although there are other travel study options available, including the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP), past participants of UCI Travel Study appreciated the specific advantages unique to this program.

“I chose Travel Study over UCEAP because it was half the price, and I could afford it,” said Raisha Kruckmeyer, a participant in the Travel-Study Cambridge program during the summer of 2012.

“Some advantages that Travel-Study had over UCEAP were that it was a shorter program, so it allowed the students the chance to travel after their studies. It also was the longest running program that UCI had, so I knew it was the most well-orchestrated program to attend.”

Other past participants were disappointed that this specific program would not be available in the future, and were surprised that this occurred.

“No one had given us any warnings that this might happen, and it was such a wonderful program that there weren’t any blatantly obvious reasons why they would discontinue Travel-Study,” said Rachel Heng, another UCI Cambridge participant.

“I’m sad that this opportunity was taken away from other people, but it makes me really appreciate the time I had abroad.”

Despite the fact that students will miss this specific program, they can still take advantage of the fact that across the UC campuses, nearly all summer travel-study programs have  been left in place for the following year. Other opportunities can be found through the Study Abroad Center on campus.

Additionally, Schneider mentioned that UCEAP may start to adjust their summer programs now that UCI Travel-Study is suspended.

For example, the UCEAP Pembroke/King’s College Program (PKP) may become a shorter program so that it closely models the former UCI Travel-Study Cambridge program.

Knowing that this session could be modified to  closely resemble the former Travel Study program made it easier for the Summer Session adminstrators to make the suspension decision.

“Even though students will be losing a wonderful program, I still encourage everyone to study abroad at least once during their college years,” Kruckmeyer said.

“There are plenty of other programs out there!”