Fall 2021 has arrived! Our first 92 students made their way safely and another 10 will follow in October! Life is beautiful at MUDEC!
With “only” 3 bags missing, the Fall 2021 arrival process was a very smooth one. And smooth also was the Orientation over the last weekend. We introduced a few new activities allowing us to emphasize even more on the European Experience which will be the key to our new curriculum.
Now that classes have started and students start to get used to their everyday business, it is time to welcome our new Associate Director: Dr. Stephanie Shaheen will start her position on September 1st and I look very much forward to working with her. This position will certainly help strengthening the MUDEC, and we hope to also have a new staff member soon in Oxford. Right now we are looking to find an Assistant Director for MUDEC in Oxford to help Ryan Dye recruit even more students for Luxembourg.
More students? Can we house more students? There are rumors in Oxford that not all the students have a host family when coming to Luxembourg. So what? It is true that it becomes more and more difficult to find host families as Luxembourg is changing and growing fast. Prices of houses are going sky high so that many people find an apartment rather than a house; with LUNEX and the University of Luxembourg there is competition on the student housing market, which does not make things easier. We were smart enough to look for alternatives early enough, also seeing that many students were less interested in a European “living experience” and preferred to be by themselves. Since January, we are able to offer alternative housing in studios and those students who took advantage of these arrangements during the last semester and during summer commented frequently on how much they appreciated this.
My vision on housing is to offer students a choice: they will continue to be able to opt for a great experience in European family living, knowing that they will have to accept some constraints such as spending evenings in front of TV and discussing politics... They may also want to test “community living” because they plan to live in a fraternity/sorority house when returning. Or they may want to experience individual living to learn if they should engage in an international environment for their professional career. What sense would it make to start a diplomatic career if you realize afterwards that living abroad, all by yourself, is not something you can do?
So even if not every student has a “host family,” every student is in a European setting, is close enough to the Château, and, with public transportation being free, has the possibility to explore the beautiful regions of Luxembourg, earning credit for their European Perspective. Life is beautiful at MUDEC, isn’t it?
And COVID? Well, things are relatively good so far, even though the Ministry of Health expects a fourth wave in Fall. We are working closely with the people of the Ministry to allow our students to get a Luxembourg vaccination certificate if they have the American equivalent: the US did not go on the way of a QR code, whereas in Europe all certificates have a verifiable QR code which facilitates traveling all over Europe.
Our batteries are filled – even the sun let us alone for most of the time – and we look back to a wonderful ELL camp. A special thank you goes to the alumni in charge of the Craig Riddle fund: without their and the U.S. Embassy’s financial support, we would not have been able to run this program and make it as successful. We definitely want to keep this program on track for Summer 2022 and continue to look for sponsors. “Avis aux amateurs” as we say here...