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Wofford ranks 2nd in country for study abroad participation

Monday, June 12, 2006

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College ranks second in the country in the percentage of undergraduates receiving credit for studying abroad, according to Open Doors 2005, an annual report published by the New York-based Institute of International Education (IIE). Wofford has been among the top 10 nationally consistently over the past 10 years.

The ranking is determined by the number of students involved in study abroad programs compared with the number of bachelor degrees conferred.

Among the other colleges and universities in the top 20 ranking were Centre College, DePauw University, Dickinson College, Colgate University, Carleton College, Austin College, the University of Dallas and Lewis & Clark College. Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., rounded out the top 20. No other institution in the Carolinas made the list.

Dr. Ana Maria Wiseman, assistant dean and associate professor of foreign languages, is director of Wofford’s programs abroad. She 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.”

The college also encourages students to study in 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 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.

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 is a long-standing, comprehensive information resource on more than 565,000 international students in the United States in 2004-05 and on the more than 191,000 U.S. students who studied abroad in 2003-04. The full report, including charges, graphs and policy-oriented analysis, is available on the Web at http://opendoors.iienetwork.org.

IIE, the largest and most experienced U.S. higher education exchange agency, has conducted an annual statistical survey of the internationally mobile student population in the United States since 1948. The Office of Global Educational Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State provided funding for the effort.

With a growing recognition of the importance of international experience, U.S. students are heading abroad in record numbers, according to the Open Doors 2005 report. The number of American students studying abroad for academic credit increased by 9.6 percent in 2003-04, building on the previous year’s 8.5 percent increase. This surge in interest brought the total number of U.S. students abroad to a record 191,321