By Dalton Valette
One of the many adventures that college offers to its students is studying abroad. Drew is no different and through the Center for Global Education, students have a plethora of opportunities to see more of the world than simply going to Stop and Shop in downtown Madison.
In the past, the norm had been that students spent the entire semester abroad. Drew still offers, notably, two full semester longTrec’s that are in London and Washington D.C., but their popularity has waned. All schools are experiencing a decline in interest with these full semester trips, Stacy Fisher, the director of the Center for Global Education states.
“It is true that the number of Drew students that participate in the semester longTrec’s are a bit lower than I would like them to be,” Fisher said. But, she argues that a longTrec is not as unmanageable as students may think. True it may be difficult for science students that have classes sequentially but it’s doable.
However, shortTrec’s and nycTrecs have been rapidly gaining popularity. In 2015, 75 students participated in shortTrec’s while in 2016 (so far) has seen those numbers rise to 170 students. “It’s really amazing,” Fisher said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what students want to do and what they will do.”
Fisher emphasized that the programs are called Trecs for a reason. Trec is an acronym for Travel, Rethink, Explore, and Connect which is what the Center for Global Education aims to provide and to have students experience. Currently, 13 shortTrec’s are being offered for 2016 which seems like a stable number for the Center. ShotTrec’s popularity has been in large part to the decline in semester long study abroad programs mixed with the continued interest in traveling and the convenience time wise with the shortTrec’s taking place during breaks. Economically, the trec’s are an add on to tuition, no doubt about that. However, that doesn’t mean it is as expensive as students may perceive it to be.
Alternatively, students have the option to explore and experience New York City. The effort to add more nycTrec’s has been a priority for President Maryann Baenninger and her administration as means to highlight Drew’s small town forest campus and the proximity to the bustling city. This spring there will be an additional nycTrec called the Semester on Social Entrepreneurship which will be highlighting development and organization/ management of NGO’s. Economics Professor Jennifer Olmsted will be directing this program. And for the fall semester in 2017, a new Semester on New York Theater will launch under Theater Arts Professors Lisa Brenner and Chris Ceraso where students will create a play from the ground up with professionals in the city, and then perform their productions on Broadway and bring them back to Drew to showcase.
Sept. 16, 2016