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### Analyzing the Unsuccessful 2024 Humanities Tour for This Semester

Milligan’s Humanities Tour has long been a cornerstone of the study abroad programs at the university. Over the years, Milligan students have embraced the chance to immerse themselves in another country’s culture, broadening their horizons. Among these excursions, the annual Humanities Tour stands out as the most renowned. Typically, students would spend one to two weeks traversing various European cities, delving into their rich history and cultural heritage. This tour was equivalent to a four-credit course, offering an alternative to a semester of Humanities on campus—a highly sought-after opportunity. However, the scenario has shifted.

This year marked a significant departure from tradition as Milligan had to cancel the Humanities Tour due to insufficient student participation. Originally slated for May, the trip was called off because the number of students who signed up was inadequate to cover the costs. This development is unprecedented for an institution like Milligan, where the humanities program holds a significant place in its identity. The cancellation raises questions about the program’s current standing and student engagement. While the emphasis on Humanities remains unwavering at Milligan, the diminishing student interest in study abroad programs signals a concerning trend. This situation mirrors the broader issue of student involvement in campus activities, hinting at underlying challenges that need addressing.

In an attempt to understand the reasons behind the lackluster response to the Humanities Tour and other study-abroad opportunities, I reached out to students for their insights. The feedback I received highlighted three primary concerns: cost, waning interest, and inadequate promotion.

Many students pointed to the financial burden as a deterrent. Given the already steep costs associated with higher education, additional expenses for such trips can pose a significant challenge, especially for those not on full scholarships. As student debt continues to rise, many are forced to weigh their aspirations against financial constraints, making tough decisions about where to allocate their resources. Lowering the trip’s cost could potentially sway some students who are currently deterred by financial considerations.

The second prevalent reason cited was a general lack of enthusiasm. Over time, what was once a popular trend—like the Humanities Tour—can lose its appeal as students become accustomed to it. This sentiment was particularly pronounced among juniors and seniors, who, unless pursuing a humanities major, showed little interest in the trip. For many, the prospect of spending weeks in Europe exploring subjects they weren’t passionate about held little allure compared to the familiar routine of campus life. The diminishing interest among upperclassmen underscores a potential disconnect between the tour’s offerings and the evolving preferences of the student body. Additionally, some students questioned the tangible benefits of the trip in terms of career readiness, opting to focus on activities that directly align with their post-graduation goals.

Lastly, students highlighted the lack of information dissemination about the Humanities Tour compared to previous years. Many freshmen and sophomores expressed a lack of clarity regarding the trip logistics and opportunities. While there were sporadic mentions in humanities lectures and chapel services, the information failed to resonate or stick with students amidst their academic and extracurricular commitments. A more structured approach to providing detailed information and hosting informational sessions could potentially bridge this communication gap and increase student engagement.

In conclusion, the cancellation of the Humanities Tour at Milligan signifies a broader challenge facing educational institutions in maintaining student interest and participation in study abroad programs. Addressing concerns related to cost, student engagement, and effective communication of opportunities is crucial in revitalizing such initiatives and ensuring their relevance in a rapidly evolving educational landscape.

For further inquiries about Milligan’s study abroad offerings, please reach out to the Director of Study Abroad, Matthew McDonald.

About the author:

Evan Hayes, a sophomore from Memphis, is dedicated to supporting The Stampede in various capacities. As a sprinter on the Milligan track and field team, Evan is actively involved in campus sports and plans to explore additional clubs during his time at Milligan. Pursuing a major in multimedia journalism, he harbors a passion for music and physical fitness. Post-graduation, Evan aspires to venture into the realm of sports media.