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Students studying abroad in record numbers

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

American college students are studying abroad in record numbers according to the 2008 Open Doors Annual Report. Those high numbers include DePauw University students.

DePauw ranked among the top 10 baccalaureate institutions in the nation for the total number of students who studied abroad in 2006-2007. A total of 241,791 scholars are opting to study abroad. This is an 8 percent increase overall.

This latest increase marks a decade of unprecedented growth in the number of American students receiving academic credit for their overseas academic experience, with an increase of close to 150 percent, from under 100,000 in 1996/97 to nearly a quarter of a million in 2006-07.

Open Doors 2008 finds that American students are more frequently choosing non-traditional study abroad destinations. The number of U.S. students studying in China, Argentina, South Africa, Ecuador and India each increased by more than 20 percent over the previous year.

This increase is fueled in part by an increase in new program opportunities, partnerships between higher education institutions in the United States and abroad, and a range of fields and program durations to accommodate the needs of an increasingly diverse study abroad population.

Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, noted that the experiences afforded through study abroad provide American students with the skills needed to live in today's world.

"International experience needs to be a component of every student's education, equipping them for 21st century careers and for global citizenship," said Dr. Goodman.

The 2008 edition of Open Doors finds an increase in the range of study abroad destinations: students electing to study in Asia increased by 20 percent, those going to Africa increased by 19 percent, and those going to Latin America and the Middle East each increased by 7 percent. About 36 percent of students studying abroad do so through semester-long programs, while 55 percent of U.S. students choose short-term programs (including summer, January term and any program of 2 to 8 weeks during the academic year).

DePauw University is among the "Top Producers of Fulbright Awards for U.S. Students, 2008-09" according to a chart published in the October 24 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. The publication notes that three 2008 DePauw graduates received Fulbright Awards to study and live abroad for a year, and that 17 students at the University applied for the prestigious grants.

The university also had a record number of 127 international students or 5 percent of the total student population joins the campus population this year.

The increase in study abroad numbers reported in Open Doors 2008 is paralleled by an increase in the range of study abroad destinations: students electing to study in Asia increased by 20 percent, those going to Africa increased by 19 percent, and those going to Latin America and the Middle East each increased by 7 percent.

About 36 percent of students studying abroad do so through semester-long programs, while 55 percent of U.S. students choose short-term programs (including summer, January term and any program of 2 to 8 weeks during the academic year).

Short-term programs serve the largest number of Americans studying abroad, including community college students and others whose financial or academic needs preclude a longer stay. Mid-length programs (one semester, one quarter or two quarters), which allow for deeper immersion into host cultures and increased opportunity for language acquisition, attract over 40 percent of all study abroad students. Less than 5 percent of study abroad students spend a full academic or calendar year abroad.

According to Open Doors 2008, the top three major fields of study of Americans studying abroad are the social sciences (21 percent of those studying abroad), business and management (19 percent), and humanities (13 percent).

The study abroad data in Open Doors 2008 reflect study conducted abroad in academic year 2006-07. Campus administrators responding to the Open Doors 2008 survey provide data on the number of study abroad students to whom they have awarded credit after completion of study abroad, so the data provided in academic year 2007-08 relates to study abroad in 2006-07.



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