Generally speaking, Rollins does not allow first year students to spend a semester abroad; however, Explorations and International Programs have been creating their own version of a first year study abroad program.
For the last two years, International Programs sent incoming first years on short trips to places like Costa Rica and China.
These trips take place right before the new students are due to report for fall orientation. Professor of History Barry Levis said, “We believe this is a good way to get kids involved before classes begin.”
“For the most part, [programs] all will be academic and should have credit,” explained Giselda Beaudin, director of International Programs.
Levis said that these sorts of trips center themselves on some sort of theme, such as a trip to Washington to learn more about working in the nation’s capital, or traveling to China to learn Chinese. During a Costa Rica trip, the students went to a research center where they put in a day of service and learned about taking care of the wildlife there.
Technically, these trips have not been formalized and are awaiting approval from the faculty. Still, they have been approved by the Academic Affairs Committee and have full support from Explorations.
In the past, Explorations was not involved in the trips; it was only recently that they began working with International Programs.
Before, they had only put together three trips. Both summers, they sent a group of students to Costa Rica and another group to China. Now that Explorations is collaborating with International Programs, both are hoping to increase the number of trips throughout the academic year, so that more students will have an opportunity to go. They also hope to branch out further and send students to more places.
Beaudin has been pushing for more trips that tie in with the Rollins College Conference (RCC) that each first-year is required to take.
She says that it would be fitting to send an RCC students somewhere relating to their studies after their first semester at Rollins.
Regardless of the reasons behind the chosen location, Levis says the important part is getting the new students involved with Rollins. “We have programs for freshmen that are either international or domestic… they build a camaraderie between the students… and build a sense of community.”
Beaudin is anxious for the support for the programs so International Programs and Explorations can begin preparing for this summer’s batch of trips. “We’re hoping it will be another cool, special thing for freshmen.”