Maymester courses should be cross-listed at higher rate

Margaret Butler

Whether it’s to expand your worldview, gain valuable real-world experiences or even strengthen your language skills, studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Eighty-five percent of  UT alumni rank their experience abroad as the top contributor to their success. 

With over 400 programs in 100 countries, Texas Global boasts impressive study abroad resources. Maymesters are just one of the many programs available. Maymesters are short-term, faculty-facilitated study abroad opportunities where students can get credit for one to three courses. They are typically three to four weeks and take place from mid-May to mid-June. 

Students are often drawn to Maymesters because they offer a short-term opportunity to explore another country and get closer to other students while giving students enough time to finish out the spring semester and have an available summer.

However, Maymesters offer limited courses, and it can be difficult to find courses that are accommodating to a wide range of students. Texas Global should encourage departments within UT to offer more cross-listings for study abroad courses so Maymester courses can apply to more students’ degree plans. 

A cross-listed course is a course that can count for credit in two different fields of study. For example, a course could be listed as both a history class and an anthropology class. By cross-listing Maymesters at a higher rate, Texas Global can help more students experience study abroad.

Dance senior Mykaela Johnson, who participated in a Maymester trip to Cambridge, England, said students often have to make compromises. 

“I’m a dance major, so there are pretty much no study abroad opportunities applicable for my major that I wanted to pursue,” Johnson said. “I went the route of looking toward my minor and found the exploring UK education (program), which I was interested in regardless of it is going to count (toward my degree).”

Texas Global already informs students about all relevant cross-listings, flags and common core credits fulfilled by study abroad courses. To make a study abroad fit better into their degree plans, students can petition for a Maymester course to be further cross-listed, counted for a common core credit or even a specific flag.

However, these efforts are not always successful. 

Heather Thompson, director of education abroad at Texas Global, said UT’s decentralized model can be a barrier. 

“Some departments won’t allow cross-listings at all,” Thompson said. “It's a department to department decision. It's not that we didn’t think to cross-list something. It might be that we tried to cross-list it, and that department has a cross-listing rule and we are not allowed to or it was not an appropriate cross-listing.” 

Going forward, Texas Global should do everything in its power to encourage departments to alter these rules hindering students’ global learning opportunities. Through increasing and standardizing cross-listing opportunities, Maymester courses can fulfill more degree requirements and accommodate a wider range of students.  

Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity that students are willing and ready to experience. Texas Global must take a more active role in ensuring students don’t miss out on a global education because of decentralized department policies. 

Butler is an undeclared freshman from Austin, Texas.