Forty-five more students were planning to study abroad in the spring than the fall this year. All but ten of those students, however, have changed their minds.
The Office of Residential Life did not expect these students to be on campus next semester and is adjusting its plans accordingly.
"When we thought we had more capacity we thought we would have more flexibility, said Director of Residential Life Mary Pat McMahon. As it turns out, "the tight capacity we see now is going to stay tight."
Initially, the College only planned to rent the three apartments on Elm Street owned by Maine State Music Theatre during the fall semester. Now, however, the Office of Residential Life is "in negotiations to extend our lease through the academic year," said McMahon.
The number of juniors who decided against going abroad did not surprise Director of Off-Campus Study (OCS) Stephen Hall.
"I don't see it as especially unusual," he said. "In a typical year we always see about 15 percent of all the students who apply change their plans and decide to stay at Bowdoin."
This year's number of juniors who decided to spend the spring on campus was "definitely within the anticipated range," said Hall.
Hall said that the OCS's pre-departure meeting on October 20, which was held slightly earlier this fall than in previous years, may have spurred many students who had been thinking of changing their plans to do so.
"The fact that we hear from students a little earlier this year is probably connected to the fact that we had the pre-departure meeting a little earlier," said Hall.
Hall added that the course registration period also serves as a catalyst.
"I think course registration is the big trigger," agreed McMahon. "So that was why they all came in last week."
McMahon speculated as to why students would cancel there abroad plans.
"Is it the economy? Is it academic reasons?" she asked.
Though OCS does not require students to give an explanation for deciding against going abroad, most students change their plans due to academic reasons, according to Hall.
"The decision was made for me by my program," said Ben Johnson '11. Johnson, who had planned to study abroad at York University in England, was ultimately unable to go when York cancelled a course he needed for his major.
When Johnson realized the course was not being offered three weeks ago, he dropped his plans to go abroad.
"I could have scrambled and found somewhere else to go, but it was too late in the game," he said.
Similarly, Lisa Goto '11 also decided against going abroad, in part because of her major requirements.
"I'm a bio and Asian studies major and, especially with science majors, it's impossible to complete them without going insane if you go abroad," she wrote in an e-mail to the Orient.
Hall addressed the concern that the economic recession might play a part in students' decisions to stay on campus.
"In this climate you worry students' families are telling them they can't afford it," however many abroad programs cost less than a semester at Bowdoin.
Personal reasons may factor into some students' decisions to stay on campus more heavily than economic reasons.
"I was really going to miss my friends who were going abroad in the fall," wrote Goto, who added that maintaining "a long distance relationship across time zones that are the opposite would have been challenging."
"I like the responsibilities I've been given, love my friends, and love myself," wrote junior Alexa Garcia in an e-mail to the Orient. "There is no reason to leave...I've worked so hard to get where I am and to find things that I'm good at. I'm really happy here at Bowdoin and don't want to put the life I love on hold for a semester."
Like Garcia, other students were not shattered by their change of plans.
"There's worse things than another semester at Bowdoin," said Johnson.