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Study abroad applications for this fall jumped to 310, up from 243 applications for last fall. But applications for programs in the Middle East did not see a similar rise — the Office of International Programs received 11 applications for programs in the region, the same number as last year.

The Office of International Programs added Egypt to its list of Middle Eastern countries where students are prohibited from studying abroad. This list also includes Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, all of which are on the U.S. State Department travel warning list. Egypt was added to the travel warning list in late January at the outbreak of protests there.

"Students, naturally, understand that the situation is fluid in Egypt," said Kendall Brostuen, director of international programs and associate dean of the College.

"We trust that as the situation stabilizes we will eventually be able to remove Egypt from the prohibition of travel list.  We will continue to monitor this."

Elana Kreiger-Benson '11, who studied abroad in Egypt last fall, said she knows how disappointed the students brought back from Egypt at the start of this semester were, but thinks the decision is understandable considering the dangerous conditions.

The OIP runs study abroad programs in nine countries but also has a list of approved alternative programs, which Brown faculty committees have approved for credit transfer. The two students who were evacuated from Egypt this semester were participating in an approved alternative program in Alexandria run through Middlebury College.

In the Middle East, there are approved programs in Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey, according to the OIP website. Thirteen students studied in the Middle East last fall or are currently studying abroad in the region.

Students can also petition the OIP for approval to participate in an alternative program, as Jessica Bendit '12 did last fall.

Although there was a Brown-approved program at the American University of Cairo, Bendit said she wanted a different experience and applied for a program with America-Mideast Educational and Training Services.

Bendit speculated that applications to study abroad in the Middle East will decrease for a while until parents and students feel safe.

"But the trend for the past couple of years has been an increasing number of students studying abroad in the Middle East," she said. "I see that continuing because I believe that this is one of the most exciting times to be a student of Middle Eastern affairs."

Julia Sheehy-Chan '12, who is currently studying abroad in Jordan, also speculated there will be more interest in the region. She wrote in an email to The Herald that she is not concerned for her safety in light of recent events, but her parents are.

"I'm actually going to Egypt for my spring break with a few of my friends, and I don't foresee any serious problems," she wrote.

The political situations in Syria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain are fascinating but do not "seem real," Sheehy-Chan wrote.

Sheehy-Chan wrote that her interest in the region has increased in light of the demonstrations.

"It doesn't feel as though we're right in the middle of things. We've built new lives here, and for most of us, it feels like home here, and we feel just as stable and safe as we did in the U.S.," she added.

The number of students studying abroad this academic year was the lowest in three years — 423 students studied abroad this year, compared to 445 last academic year and 479 in the 2008-09 academic year, according to Brostuen. The number of applications received does not indicate the number of students who will study abroad this fall because some students apply to multiple programs and others do not end up studying abroad.



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