After facing cancellation last semester, Binghamton University’s Semester in London program has risen from the ashes for spring 2020.
The study abroad program has been offered every spring by BU’s English department for almost 40 years, but was discontinued after tensions erupted between the University’s Office of International Education and Global Initiatives (IEGI) and Academic Solutions, the organization that previously ran the program.
The revival solution came from BU leaving Academic Solutions and working directly with Florida State University as a host agency. The program had already used Florida State University’s facilities in London in previous years.
But with the new host agency came an earlier application due date in September — and for the program to continue, at least 15 BU students must be enrolled by the deadline. The earlier deadline will allow Florida State University to make housing and excursion arrangements for the semester, according to Mary Haupt, co-director of the Semester in London program and a lecturer in the English department.
Haupt wrote in an email that the English department “fought long and hard” to revive the program, and noted it is unique because it is the only study abroad program that is both semester-long and faculty-led in the SUNY system.
“London itself becomes part of your class experience,” Haupt wrote. “You’ll visit museums and galleries and experience world-class theatre.”
While in London, students can study journalism and British theatre, literature and culture. Although the courses offered typically support English and theatre majors, the program is open to students in all areas of study at BU. According to Haupt, classes are often held in nontraditional settings, such as museums or theaters.
The itinerary also includes numerous theatre performances, day trips and overnight excursions. Students do not have classes on Monday or Friday to allow for travel. According to Amber Weinstock, ‘18, who participated in the Semester in London program in spring 2017, having time to go on trips in London and other locations helped her become “more worldly” and contributed to her personal growth throughout her study abroad experience.
“Studying or living abroad in general, I’ve concluded, is one of the best ways to figure yourself and the world out a little more,” Weinstock wrote on IEGI’s official blog. “You’ll truly learn to what extent you want travel and exploration of other cultures to be a part of your life.”
The application for the Semester in London program can be found on the IEGI’s website. Applications for the spring 2020 semester are due by Sept. 2.