Though the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) is still accepting late applications for six of its fall quarter programs, BOSP director Bob Sinclair said the extensions are a standard practice and that he is not worried about the health of any of the programs.
The BOSP programs in Florence, Madrid, Moscow and Santiago have not filled to capacity and are still seeking applicants for fall quarter. The Paris and Oxford are accepting applicants for the waitlist. While the programs in Florence, Madrid and Santiago each have 40 spots, Florence received only 27 applications, Madrid received 36 and Santiago received 32. In addition, the Moscow program, which is only offered fall quarter, had 18 applicants for a capacity of 25 students.
Sinclair said he believes that the practice of accepting late applications is linked to student interest in the overseas seminar programs, which are offered for three weeks over the summer.
“We are still accepting late applications to try and maximize the number of students who go overseas,” Sinclair said. “We had a huge number of applicants for the overseas seminars, so if there were students who applied for the seminar and not the regular program, then we wanted to give them an opportunity to rethink applying for the regular program.”
Sinclair noted that that the trend for the Moscow program is not unusual.
“Moscow has always been at a little bit less than capacity, but it is such an important program that we don’t worry about the numbers,” Sinclair said. “When I visited last autumn, I was impressed with the students’ enthusiasm. Moscow is a very unique opportunity amongst all the programs.”
Although the Moscow program closed in 2003 due to limited interest and high administrative costs, and did not reopen until 2005, Sinclair said he feels that the 2012 program does not face the same potential fate.
“We really have a lot of belief in the strength and necessity of the program,” Sinclair said. “As far as we are concerned, we will offer it.”
Faculty and students seem to agree with Sinclair’s positive assessment of the Moscow program. Over the past few weeks, numerous letters and testimonials have been widely circulated through Stanford chat lists.
One such appeal – written by professors Jack and Nancy Kollmann, two faculty-in-residence members from the 2010 program in Moscow – highlighted many of the strengths of the program. Students, they wrote, can intern at a variety of companies in the city and are also able to travel extensively through Europe.
“The thing about Moscow is that it’s a place you might never go to on your own, but it’s a dynamic society with great things happening and fascinating political changes,” the two professors wrote.
Moscow, the Kollmanns also noted, is one of the few BOSP programs that does not have a language requirement.
“If you have no Russian, you can go in late August to start an intensive language program that gives you some basic functionality before classes start,” they wrote.
The other programs still accepting applications, with the exception of the program in Oxford, require at least three quarters of college-level language classes. Madrid now requires six quarters of language classes, a change from the 2011-12 requirements, which only expected students to have taken a minimum of one year of Spanish, according to Sinclair.
“This change is on a trial basis at first, so we can see the results,” Sinclair said. “Probably the main reason is that there is a pretty strong language pledge at Madrid. We want to make sure that students are comfortable with that.”
The change in Madrid’s requirements, however, does not seem to have significantly impacted the application numbers for fall.
“Application numbers don’t seem to be so much different,” Sinclair said. “Each program goes up and down…you just can’t predict it. There’s nothing of concern about Madrid applications.”