Students studying outside the library

Wofford ranks fourth among national study abroad leaders

College listed on Open Doors’ Top 40 Baccalaureate Institutions

International Programs 382x255
2014-11-24

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Again this year, the Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange has recognized Wofford College as a national leader in study abroad participation. Wofford moved up to the fourth spot on the list, released recently.

Wofford has been in the top 10 baccalaureate institutions for students studying abroad for credit for more than 15 years.

“I don’t think any amount of lessons or workshops could properly prepare me for the first day of teaching English as a Fulbright grantee in South Korea, but my study abroad experiences as an undergraduate at Wofford College definitely played an important role in my development as a Fulbright ETA,” says David Moore ’14, one of two Wofford Fulbright recipients during the past year. “Thanks to Wofford’s emphasis on study abroad, I am able to confidently navigate new situations here in South Korea — whether it’s trying to pick up a new language or joining in on Korean Thanksgiving with my host family.” 

The majority of Wofford’s study abroad participants this year will study overseas during the January Interim. The Interim is the reason that Wofford also ranked 12th on the list of colleges that offer short-term opportunities for study abroad experiences. 

“Students will study the relationship between Christians and Muslims in Istanbul and focus on marine biology in Bonaire. There’s a group that will study the culinary arts in France and another that will examine Japanese history, language and culture in Tokyo,” says Amy Lancaster, assistant dean of international programs. “These types of experiences are essential in developing cross-cultural awareness, adaptability, independence and problem solving — skills that will prove vital to our students in the workplace and in their personal lives.” 

Wofford’s study abroad programming extends across the college community. The college has offered the faculty the opportunity to study away through the Milliken Faculty Seminars Abroad. Since the program began in 2009, faculty groups have traveled to Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, Morocco and Spain.
“Andrew Green (associate professor of finance) being invited to teach in the Danish Institute for Study Abroad is one of the most satisfying outcomes of the Milliken Faculty Seminar Abroad,” says Dr. Ana María Wiseman, dean of international programs. “He is able to contribute to the innovative curriculum in Copenhagen with his course on comparable sustainable green business. But he also will be able to integrate his cross-cultural and global learning skills back into his teaching at Wofford when he returns next semester.”

Although 40 percent of Wofford students studying abroad for a semester or longer are foreign language majors (the national average is 4.9 percent), 37 percent are students studying in STEM areas. Wofford has woven internationalization into the new strategic vision, and this fall the college has enjoyed visiting international scholars – two each from Spain and China and one each from Argentina and France. In addition, Wofford has joined Generation Study Abroad, a movement led by the Institute of International Education to encourage purposeful, innovative action aimed at getting more Americans to undertake an international experience. All are indications that Wofford has solidified a commitment to global education throughout the campus.

“Wofford encourages and assists students wishing to study abroad through scholarships and other financial aid. It’s a part of who we are as a college, and we’re determined to make these transformative experiences accessible to all of our students,” says Lancaster.

To read more about Wofford’s study abroad program, visit Wofford.edu/internationalprograms, or to read the full Open Doors report, go to iie.org/research-and-publications/open-doors.