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Wofford continues to be among national study abroad leaders

College ranks seventh among top 40 baccalaureate institutions
David Moore 382x255
David Moore '13 backpacking on the W-Trail in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
2013-11-14

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – David Moore got his first taste of studying abroad during his first January Interim at Wofford College, and over the next four years, he never looked back.
  Moore, who was the college’s 29th Presidential International Scholar for the 2012-13 academic year, will graduate in December after having studied abroad in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Italy and South Korea.

“One of the things that drew me to Wofford as a prospective student was its strong study abroad track record and ample opportunities for students interested in studying abroad,” Moore, of Spartanburg, says. “As a freshman, I spent my Interim term studying intensive German in Munich and never looked back.”

Those opportunities for students are why Wofford continues to be among the leaders in the nation for participation in study abroad for credit. Since 2007, more than 2,200 Wofford students have studied abroad in 70 countries on seven continents.

The2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released earlier this week, ranks Wofford seventh among the country’s top 40 baccalaureate institutions. Wofford, which consistently has ranked in the top 10 for more than 15 years, is the only South Carolina institution included on any of the reports three lists ranking undergraduate participation in study abroad programs – Top 40 Doctoral Institutions, Top 40 Master’s Institutions and Top 40 Baccalaureate Institutions.

The rankings are based on the number of students studying abroad and the number of degrees conferred, resulting in the estimated ratio of student participation in study abroad programs for credit.

Dr. Ana Maria Wiseman, dean of international programs at Wofford, notes that a half of the college’s students who study abroad for semester or longer do so in a foreign language program, exceeding the national average by nearly 20 percent. She points to students such as Moore, who will receive BA/BS dual degrees in German, chemistry and mathematics in December, and Rachel Woodlee, currently studying at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, a Chinese and business economic major who studied and worked abroad in China, India, France, Germany and Peru while she was at Wofford. “We are thrilled to see the strong participation of our language majors in our international programs.”

Moore hopes to attend graduate school at either the University of Texas at Austin or Rice University, then work in the energy industry, “preferably in an international setting.” In the short term, he will be working on a research project at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, and he plans to travel to Europe to visit friends he met while studying abroad and to help his brother settle into a new home in Switzerland.

“After graduation, I will be confident in my ability to live on my own, whether in the United States or in a different country,” Moore says. “My experiences bumbling through city traffic, awkwardly asking for things at restaurants abroad, and even dealing with homesickness are all things I will take with me after Wofford. Although I’m not sure where I’ll end up next year, I know my time at Wofford has prepared me to take on any challenge with confidence.”

Wofford’s Office of International Programs encourages study abroad in non-traditional locations, says Amy Lancaster, assistant dean of international programs and academic administration. “We work with students one-on-one to find the program and location that most appropriately suits their academic and personal goals. In addition to more traditional Western European locations, we are regularly sending students to less commonly traveled locations,” she says. “This year, students will spend a semester or longer in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, India, Israel, Nepal, Panama, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania and Vietnam. This is exciting as we continue to see a higher level of student engagement among students who have studied in non-traditional destinations, according to our NSSE (National Study of Student Engagement) research.”

In addition, 46 percent of Wofford faculty has participated in study abroad through the Milliken Faculty Seminars Abroad – giving them a taste of the student experience. The program began in 2009, when 13 faculty and staff members went to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since then faculty groups have traveled to Shanghai, China; Granada, Spain, and Rabat, Morocco and Bahia, Brazil. In January 2013, a group of 10 faculty and staff studied in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Wofford encourages and assists students wishing to study abroad through scholarships and financial aid packages.

For more on Wofford’s Study Abroad program, go to: http://www.wofford.edu/internationalprograms/.

According to the Open Doors report, Wofford had 339 students participate in study abroad programs in 2012-13.

The Open Doors report is published annually by the Institute of International Education with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The report showed an increase of 3 percent in the number of American students who studied abroad for academic credit, to an all-time high of more than 283,000.

For more about the Open Doors 2013 report, go to:
http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors