exSPANd your horizons

Chloe Kucera

Hamline has recently launched a travel abroad experience called SPAN (Student Project for Amity Among Nations). This is a program that allows students to study abroad while also conducting their own research projects. 

SPAN began back after World War II at the University of Minnesota with a group of students who wanted to travel again once the war was over. The University approved it and wanted the students to conduct research during their travels with a faculty member for support.

“SPAN was born and it was that it was really a goal of learning about the world and cross-cultural experiences and developing better relationships among people from all over the world,” said Leticia Basford, an education professor and SPAN faculty director for Hamline. “It’s been running for all these years afterward and it’s just come to Hamline. It actually came right as COVID[-19] was coming. So we launched our first SPAN program last summer with eight students and had an incredible experience.”

The first SPAN trip at Hamline occurred last summer in London. In a newsletter from the Global Engagement Center, Neva Miller, Misha Ram and Nicole Espinoza talked about how SPAN worked for them during this trip.

“I was really lucky to have gotten super generous scholarships that made this trip possible,” Miller said. “I would encourage anyone thinking about SPAN to keep that in mind and reach out to either the GEC or the SPAN leadership team to discuss the funding that is available. Studying abroad sounds like a dizzying task and a lot of hoops to jump through, but it’s really not that bad–and totally worth it in the end.” 

Hamline offices such as the GEC and SPAN can discuss the possibilities of study abroad at any time during a student’s time at Hamline. Like Miller, Ram also used these resources in her planning process. 

“If you ever needed a sign to study abroad, this is it. Just do it, SPAN and many others will help you,” she said. “Use your resources, finances are a real obstacle but the program, GEC and networking through departments will help you somehow and some way.”

These students also outlined how the research portion of studying abroad is not always necessary, especially for other programs offered than just SPAN.

“If you’re thinking about SPAN, especially as a junior or senior, I would highly recommend,” Espinoza said. “My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner. It’s not necessary to have research experience, and writing research papers now for other classes is a breeze.”

The cost of studying abroad is often a barrier for students. SPAN gives financial aid to make it more affordable for students. 

“I just would really emphasize that there’s a lot of financial support,” Basford said. “You may think you can’t do it but inquire and look and talk to me about it. Because it’s really incredible.”

Another two trips to London will happen this spring and again in the summer of 2023. Students who attend will be able to spend six weeks in the UK. Faculty Advisors will be both Basford and Professor Leila DeVriese. Applications for the Summer 2023 trip to London are due Jan. 15.

Another SPAN program coming up will be a trip to Jordan in Jan. 2024 with Faculty Advisor Suda Ishida.

“In Jordan, we’ll be working with nonprofit organizations that work with the immigrants and refugees,” Ishida said.

The research will be focused on geopolitics due to conflict in the Middle East. The students who go on this trip will get hands-on experience, working directly in refugee camps.

The SPAN program is a unique opportunity available to Hamline students with the intention that anyone can participate in the program and reap the benefits.


If you’re interested in the SPAN program or have any questions, contact Leticia Basford (lbasford01@hamline.edu).