Oxford gives OK to University trip

Dr. Karl Schmidt, Director of International Studies SDSU

Dr. Karl Schmidt, Director of International Studies SDSU

Nate Billings

Since 1987, students at Missouri Southern have had the opportunity to explore the British culture at Oxford University.

Beginning this semester, Southern has a new contract with Oxford. The contract allows the University to send students directly there without going through another institution.

Before, students had to enroll in the program in conjunction with a program at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

The program is the oldest study abroad opportunity at Southern. Any student with a 3.5 grade-point average is allowed to enroll.

Currently, 13 students are enrolled to go to Oxford. Because there is a minimum requirement for enrollment of 20 students, the University asked South Dakota State University in Brookings if the institution would consider sending some of its students with the Southern students.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Dr. Karl Schmidt, director of international programs at SDSU.

Students going on the trip agree.

“It’s something everyone should experience,” said Kasi Bourous, senior history major.

Schmidt said he cannot advertise the program at SDSU yet because the Board of Regents for the South Dakota universities has not approved the request.

“I’m predicting that they’ll approve it,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt is a former history and international studies instructor at Southern. After he accepted his new position at SDSU, he stayed in touch with Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies.

The two then worked out an agreement between the Universities to send students to Oxford after Southern gained its own program.

Students will spend 19 days in England during the months of June and July, but are allowed to stay longer or come earlier if they would like. The classes offered are either a J.R.R. Tolkien literature class or an Estates and Gardens history class.

Dr. Doris Walters, professor of English, will be the faculty member allowed to go free through Oxford.

“I’ve had good experiences with international studying,” Walters said.

She studied in England before and has a daughter living on the edge of London.

“I would like to be around the students,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being a student again.”

Stebbins, Schmidt and Walters agree the trip is worthwhile.

“I’d like to see the students come back with a new perspective on the world,” Walters said.

Community members, alumni and anyone interested in joining the trip can contact the Institute at 625-9736.