U doubles winter global seminars

In a continued effort to internationalize the University of Minnesota, the Learning Abroad Center is offering four global seminars over winter break, which is twice the number of trips in 2007. More than 70 students are attending the trips and will earn three credits during their three weeks abroad. Program director Christine Anderson said the seminars offer students an opportunity to study in a foreign country without having to speak the language. âÄúItâÄôs going to be one class that youâÄôd kind of illuminate abroad,âÄù she said. Although the University offers summer seminars as well, she said the winter programs work well because they do not interfere with internships or jobs and they offer students an opportunity to experience the holidays abroad. Financial aid is also easier for students to find as well because winter term programs are attached to spring aid as opposed to summer trips that only offer students left over money from the previous school year. The seminar in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which filled its 25 spots immediately, will offer a marketing class to explore how Dubai markets itself, Anderson said. Psychology senior Shadon Ghassemlou said she was excited to go on the trip to Dubai because she cannot commit to missing a full semester. Although the courses are not language intensive, Ghassemlou said she is trying to learn some Arabic phrases and thinks speaking farci may help her understand some of the language. âÄúItâÄôd be cool to see some of the outskirts because a lot of people think Dubai is this very amazing place,âÄù she said. âÄúIt is, but itâÄôs very synthetic.âÄù During the trip, the students will visit the worldâÄôs first seven star hotel, Burj Al Arab , as well as other major tourist sites. Students looking for a more cultural program are visiting the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, which senior academic advisor Mark Bellcourt said will look at the history of Mayan culture. Bellcourt, who is leading the trip, said he has visited the Yucatan Peninsula 11 or 12 times, and the students all seemed excited at orientation. âÄúWeâÄôre going to be doing some kind of unique things that arenâÄôt normally a part of global seminars,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôre going to be doing a community service learning project with a small local Mayan community.âÄù He said the students will visit the ancient Mayan ruins, snorkel along the coastline, and look at the scientific aspect of the indigenous culture.