Student Requirements

SPAN, a rigorous academic pursuit and leadership opportunity, is a 1-1/2-year commitment. Students apply and are chosen during the Fall semester, then spend the Spring semester planning their research, meeting with other SPANners, and working  with an academic advisor. The following summer is spent abroad conducting independent research. During the second academic year, students complete their research and write their research paper.  Students are encouraged to attend the Executive Board meetings and do a variety of program support tasks to keep the organization strong.

 Careful academic preparation

  • Four of the eight credits awarded will be granted for the preparation term, which includes orientation meetings and assignments from the advisor to familiarize the student with the culture, history, geography and language of the country. The advisor also works with the student to connect his/her experience abroad with life in Minnesota. In addition, students will begin planning the logistics of their research projects.  They purchase plane tickets, begin making connections with contacts overseas and work with their group members and advisors to find appropriate housing.  Additionally, students begin the preliminary stages of the research process including the refining of a thesis statement, a literature review, and outline.  
  • Participation in the annual Thank-A-Thon
    Students maintain connections with our valuable alumni during the
    Thank-A-Thon, one of the ways SPAN connects past and present students  Students are required to call specifically chosen alumni to discuss the differences and similarities in their experiences, to network and to help the program reach its development goals. 
  • Attendance at All-SPAN Days and the Bon Voyage Banquet
    During the preparation year, students are required to attend
    two or three "All-SPAN" information sessions with all country groups. Topics will include finances and research techniques. Attendance also is required at the Bon Voyage Banquet, a celebration held in the spring. It  marks the end of the preparation term and the departure of the current class of SPANners. Scholarships are presented at this event. Friends, family and alumni are encouraged to attend.
  • Program support time
    Since SPAN is a student-run organization, we need the help of current students. Students are
    encouraged to support the program through volunteer work, choosing from among many tasks that help keep SPAN strong. Many students choose to take on a leadership position by serving on the SPAN Executive Board. 
  • A minimum of eight weeks in the SPAN country
  • Preparation and completion of a research project during the following year
    SPAN theses are typically due
    in May following the summer abroad. Papers are bound and added to the SPAN library.