University’s study abroad program reflects larger international education trends
University’s study abroad program reflects larger international education trendsNovember 29, 2006Daeya Malboeufdmking04@syr.edu
According to Open Doors 2006, an annual report released by the Institute of International Education (IIE), American students continued to study abroad in record numbers, reaching 205,983 students — an increase of 8 percent over the prior year. This latest surge builds on steady increases over the past few decades, and is buoyed in part by growing interest in destinations in Asia and South America. These trends are reflected in recent developments in SU Abroad, the University’s renowned study-abroad program.
Allan E. Goodman, president and CEO of IIE, notes that U.S. students are increasingly studying in countries such as China and India that will provide useful language and cultural skills for their future careers. “American colleges are providing more opportunities for students to have an international experience and are beginning to address some of the barriers to participation in study abroad,” says Goodman.
In keeping with this trend, last spring saw the inauguration of SU Abroad’s new Beijing center, and the complementary introduction of the University’s pioneering Asian Studies minor. “We realize that we’re serving an increasingly sophisticated and adventurous population,” says Amy Sloane-Garris, director of marketing and recruitment for SU Abroad, “and we want our students to have access to the most culturally and career-relevant locations across the globe.” New center destinations under development include Kampala, Uganda (targeted to accept graduate students in Fall 2007), and Santiago, Chile (targeted to accept students in Spring 2008). A new center in the Carribean is also planned, and Istanbul, Turkey, is the latest option to be added to the University’s World Partner program.
Yet while the number of students who chose SU Abroad’s premiere programs continues to increase, so too do concerns about financing the study abroad dream. With accessibility in mind, the program has established a variety of scholarships and financial aid opportunities for students based on merit and need. “We make every effort to help students who otherwise would not be able to participate,” says Elane Granger, associate director of admissions counseling and student services. For example, the JoAnn Heffernan Heisen Scholarship awards as much as $5,000 for SU students who come from single-parent households. Students opting to explore the Beijing program may qualify for scholarships up to $6,000. And there are also several scholarships that provide assistance with course fees and independent travel.
“Students need to be made aware of both the opportunities and the resources,” says Sloan-Garris. “The Open Doors report demonstrates the increasing understanding that study abroad is a fundamental component of a more complete education. The Chancellor’s vision to promote Scholarship in Action underscores this, too. Our students are volunteering in Italian schools; completing intensive scholarships in Singapore, Hong Kong and Madrid; exploring Muslim culture in London; and studying geography in the Arctic.”