Geneva program suspended for summer 2010

Michael Levin


Students who planned to take part in this upcoming summer’s study abroad program in Geneva will now have to look for alternative plans.

Due to new regulations with the Swiss visa, students will be unable to participate in this program for the summer of 2010.

The new regulations for the visa do not comply with the planned program, according to Lance Kenney, director of international studies. 

“The basic problem is with the new regulations for the Swiss visa, which require students to have one classroom contact hour in a Swiss university for every hour that they participate in an internship,” Kenney said.  “Given that internships can be up to 60 contact hours, finding a way to structure a summer program with this many hours has proven impossible.”

Although the change may be inconvenient for some students, Kenney assured the University that this issue should not affect next summer’s program to Geneva.

“We’re in contact with some universities in Geneva to try to find ways to make sure that the program will be in compliance and run successfully in the summer of 2011,” Kenney said.  

The study abroad program in Geneva was open to both business and political science majors. 

Students were required to take a course provided by a Villanova University faculty member and complete an internship that pertains to their field of study.  

Sophomores, juniors and seniors with a minimum GPA of a 3.0 were eligible to sign up for the eight-to-12 week program that was scheduled to begin June 13 and end Aug. 11.  

Students traditionally completed internships with various multi-national organizations that were headquartered in Geneva, as well as with other international, nongovernmental organizations such as the U.N. and the Red Cross.  

In addition to an internship, this program also included many of the same offerings as other study abroad programs.  

The University planned excursions, welcome receptions, on-site orientations and an end-of-program meal.  

Sophomore Gerard DeMuro said he was dissatisfied with the University’s inability to make changes to suit the new regulations.   

“As a political science major, I was very interested in participating in a program like this,” DeMuro said. “The University should have worked harder and more quickly to accommodate these new regulations, and I am now a little worried about this program’s stability heading into next year.”  

Although the cancellation of this program gave rise to rumors that other factors, such as housing issues, may have contributed to this decision, Villanova faculty stated that this was untrue.

“[Housing issues] were not variables in the decision not to run the program,” Kenney said.  

Lack of time before the program’s scheduled initiation did not allow for changes to the program, according to Kenney.  

The department of international studies is working quickly on alternative plans for summer 2011.