SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College ranks in the top 5 among the country’s baccalaureate institutions in the percentage of students receiving credit for studying abroad, according to Open Doors 2006, an annual report published by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Wofford has been among the top 10 nationally consistently for more then 10 years.
The ranking is determined by the number of students involved in study abroad programs compared with the number of bachelor degrees conferred.
After ranking second in 2005, Wofford ranked fourth among baccalaureate institutions in the latest reporting. With a score of 97.2, Wofford trailed only Austin College (Texas), 110; Kalamazoo (Mich.) 99.3, and Centre College (Ky.) 97.7. Eckerd, DePauw and Davidson also made the top 20. Elon University, in a different category as a university offering master’s and professional degrees, was the only other campus in the nation with a score at or near 100.
Dr. Ana Maria Wiseman, assistant dean and associate professor of foreign languages and director of Wofford’s programs abroad, emphasizes that the college encourages students to study at locations less frequently selected, such as Jordan, Senegal, China, Taiwan, Germany, Hungary, Cyprus and Ecuador. “The Road Less Traveled,” a new initiative, offers scholarships of $500 for a summer program, $1,000 for a semester and $2,000 for a full year of study in those locations.
The study abroad program is a major component of Wofford’s commitment to providing its students with connections with the world. Among the other elements are the foreign language major programs in Spanish, French and German, and such programs as Chinese language and culture, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Intercultural Studies, Intercultural Studies for Business, and the Cultural and Peoples requirement. Wofford’s January Interim program allows the college to offer travel/study opportunities in less-commonly selected destinations as well, Wiseman says. The college also provides scholarship opportunities, such as its Lesesne Scholarships, for international study and travel. The college’s premiere scholarship, the Richardson Family Scholarship, also includes travel abroad as a component. Each year, a Presidential International Scholar also is selected to devise and execute an independent study project while traveling abroad in developing countries.
Wiseman also notes that Wofford students are choosing to stay longer in one location for their study-abroad experiences, providing them more time to become more “culturally integrated.”
Studies abroad programs at Wofford range from a full year at universities in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia to travel study seminars and independent research during the college’s January Interim term. Among the 2007 Interim destinations will be Japan, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Greece and Turkey, along with Europe and Asia. Wofford is affiliated with several study abroad consortia, including the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES), the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and the School for International Training (SIT).
Open Doors captures information from U.S. campuses that reported in 2005-06 on the number of their students who receive credit for study abroad in the prior year, so study abroad data in Open Doors 2006 is for study conducted in 2004-05, through the summer of 2005.
The number of students studying abroad reached 205,983, an increase of 8 percent over last year’s report. The full 2006 report, including charts, graphs and policy-oriented analysis, is available on the Web at http://opendoors.iienetwork.org.