Summer program fills up

Months after the Yale-in-London 2006 spring term was nearly canceled because of low demand, applications for the program’s two summer sessions have exceeded the number of spots available.

Yale-in-London received 44 applications for the summer sessions, each of which has 16 spots, Program Manager Jo-Ann Forslund said. The Yale-in-London spring term currently enrolls 14 students, selected out of 20 who applied in the fall after the application deadline was extended at the end of October.

“We’re meeting demand where it lays,” said Brian Allen, director of the Paul Mellon Centre, which runs the study abroad program. “[The summer session] is actually oversubscribed, which is a … success story in terms of the progress we’ve made since our first year in 1977. We just want enough students for them to have a good experience.”

Forslund said the program generally receives about 40 to 45 applications for the summer sessions each year.

Several students who participated in Yale-in-London last summer said the program fit their needs better than a semester abroad would have.

“I really wanted to do a study abroad program but didn’t want to take a semester out of my Yale life,” Eugene Ashton-Gonzalez ’07 said. “I thought six weeks was a pretty good chunk of time to get to know London.”

But Maryott Bristol ’07, who participated in Yale-in-London during the spring 2005 term, said a lengthier stay in London was necessary for her to take full advantage of the study abroad experience.

“I chose the spring session because I wanted to take the time to get to know [other students] really well and go on some amazing trips,” she said.

Laura Heiman ’07, who is currently in London on the spring term of the program, said she was worried last fall when she found out the spring 2006 program might be canceled.

“I was pretty upset, especially because the deadline to apply to go abroad elsewhere had already passed,” Heiman said.

Heiman said she, along with other concerned students, helped convince program administrators last fall to extend the Yale-in-London spring term deadline so other students could have time to apply.

It is not unusual for the program to be under-subscribed, especially in the spring, Allen said. He said this year’s spring term originally received only about five applicants, and program administrators felt at least 10 students were needed to make the experience meaningful for everyone.

Until a few years ago, a fall term was also offered, but students were reluctant to study abroad at the beginning of school, Allen said. Since then, two sessions have been offered for the usually popular summer term.

Amy Meyers, who is director of the Yale Center for British Arts, said the Dean’s Office’s decision to send a campus-wide e-mail advertising the program’s extended deadline was a big factor in making sure the spring term would be possible. Within 24 hours of sending the message, the number of applicants had reached full enrollment, she said.

“We were shocked at the results of a little advertising,” Heiman said. “[Twenty applicants] is a lot considering that most of these people only had a week to decide if they wanted to spend their upcoming semester on another continent.”

Word of mouth is still the most effective method of recruitment for the program, Allen said.

There are no plans currently in place to expand the Yale-in-London program, due to space and resource limitations, he said.

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