In response to the cancellation of study abroad this upcoming semester, the global studies minor (GSM) has changed its requirements to allow students to declare the minor without going abroad.
Due to the unforeseeable issues surrounding the coronavirus and its effect on the future, Binghamton University’s Office of International Education and Global Initiatives (IEGI) made the decision to cancel study abroad programs for the fall 2020 semester.
Students who participated in the study abroad program had the option to add the GSM, which they had to declare before leaving the country. The GSM is available to all students regardless of their BU school and major. This multidisciplinary program aims to aid students in reflecting on their cross-cultural experiences through discussions and research in order to foster international knowledge, intercultural proficiency and global awareness.
Prior to the cancellation of study abroad, the minor required students to study abroad in the summer for a minimum of four weeks or take a minimum of three credits during a semester abroad. These students had to take three courses surrounding their study abroad journey: a pre-departure, while-abroad and post-departure course.
Instead of studying abroad, students can now take a three- or four-credit course connected to the country they intended to study abroad in, or one about a global topic. Students still have to take at least one foreign language course and at least two global/international content courses.
James Hundley, program coordinator for the GSM and an adjunct assistant professor of anthropology, wrote in an email that the success of the GSM depends on study abroad programs. While it is found under the anthropology department’s website, it is an independent program.
“We are a self-funded program,” Hundley wrote. “If study abroad programs are canceled and students are unable to take the [global studies] courses then the program would shut down.”
According to Hundley, any student studying abroad in any capacity qualified for the minor before this change.
“All international students are also eligible to do the minor,” Hundley wrote. “We’ve been trying to increase our international student enrollment in the program. Our international students have always provided a wonderful addition to our Capstone seminar discussions. It helps domestic students to see how the [United States] is a foreign, study abroad site for some and they’re able to better understand what many international students go through while at [BU].”
The Capstone seminar is a course that students take once returning from their study abroad program. In this course, they create a final project for the GSM that compiles everything they’ve learned abroad and worked on in the class. It is a multimodal online publication that answers a question related to the country they studied in with research they conducted.
Hundley wrote that there are normally over 100 students with the minor, but this semester they expect a lower number due to the impact COVID-19 has had on these programs.
“Our enrollment has steadily been increasing over the past five years until this pandemic happened,” Hundley wrote. “Our enrollment now is significantly lower because of the cancellation of programs. I am currently at less than 25% of what our normal confirmed summer enrollment is. The fall enrollment is lower.”
Those interested in learning more or declaring the minor can contact Hundley at firstname.lastname@example.org.