Beth Stapleton wants to see Mississippi College students enrich their educational careers around the world.
Announced in Spring 2019, the Edward McMillan ‘MAC’ Center for Education Abroad houses all study abroad programs under one roof. The program was officially launched Aug. 1, with Stapleton as Director.
Mississippi College began a $2 million campaign to fund the newly formed center. “One million will go towards an endowment,” Stapleton said. “The other million will go towards scholarships and grants.”
The MAC Center has a two-pronged technique to reach its $2 million goal: establishing connections and a letter campaign. The letter campaign will send mail to former study abroad alums and MC donors. Stapleton is also making connections with individuals who may be willing to house students overseas.
Funding for the $2 million campaign ends in October, followed by an official launch celebration.
In January, a “Broad-a-Pallooza” will be held for students, faculty, and the local community interested in possible study abroad trips. The Center will have information regarding multiple opportunities throughout the year 2020.
The U.S. State Department estimates roughly one in ten students will study abroad during their undergraduate career. Stapleton wants that number to increase.
“I would like to see 500 students get involved with study abroad programs throughout the school year,” Stapleton said.
Junior Lily Hargrove attended the London Semester Abroad program last year. “Studying in London this past spring was an opportunity of a lifetime.” She continued, “I learned a lot educationally, but also I learned a lot about God and myself.”
The MAC center currently offers trips to Austria, Brazil, China, England, France, Japan, South Korea, and Spain. Trips can last from a couple of weeks to an entire semester.
More opportunities are being created. “Say a student comes to me and wants to be a missionary in Pakistan,” Stapleton said. “I would contact an alum in that country and try to place the current student with the alum.”
The Education Abroad Center is more than just study abroad trips. Students can get engaged with mission trip-style adventures or complete internships overseas.
Stapleton believes the stigma behind study abroad programs can be misleading. “We’ve been pushing Modern Language trips a lot,” Stapleton said. “But study abroad programs are for everybody.”
Stapleton hopes money is not a major ordeal for students who want to study abroad. Grants and scholarships are available through the MAC Center. Stapleton can help students, faculty, and others find outside scholarships as well.
A major upcoming trip led by Stapleton and Christian Studies professor Dr. Ivan Parke is the Holy Land Tour during next semester’s Spring Break. The ten-day excursion begins March 4. Roughly ten spots are available and open to everyone. The deadline to apply for the trip is Oct. 1. More info can be found at springbreak.mc.edu.
Stapleton is eager to send students “off and flying” to new places. For more information regarding study abroad adventures, the MAC Center is located on the second floor of the Leland Speed Library. Students can contact Stapleton at firstname.lastname@example.org or ex. 7664.
“Don’t just limit your educational career to Clinton,” Stapleton said.