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SU’s study abroad programs reflect positive international trends
Throughout this week, recognized nationally as International Education Week (IEW), SU Abroad has hosted informational meetings for students that focus attention on the experiences that prepare Americans for a global environment and on the multitude of study abroad options available through SU’s overseas centers and individualized program options.
IEW is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. Coinciding with IEW each year is the release of the Open Doors report by the Institute of International Education (IIE), which provides annual figures and trends on international study.
According to Open Doors 2009, a record number of U.S. students chose to study abroad, with an increase of 8.5 percent to 262,416 in the 2007-08 academic year, the latest data year available.
In the Open Doors report, SU is ranked 11th among all U.S. doctorate institutions for undergraduate participation in study abroad programs. In 2007-08, 1,490 SU undergraduate students studied abroad—contributing to a 51.5 percent participation rate for SU undergraduates at some time during their college career.
“SU Abroad is known as a leader in the field of international education—a distinction that has much to do with the experience and passion of our staff,” says SU Abroad Executive Director Jon Booth.
The report also notes that the number of students going to nearly all of the top 25 destinations increased, with particularly strong rises seen in students going to less traditional destinations for study abroad. The United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and China are the top five leading destinations for study abroad students.
Recognizing that Europe continues to be a perennial leading destination for undergraduate academic and cultural experiences, Syracuse University Abroad recently launched a new addition to its existing study abroad centers, SU Europe. This strategy reflects a necessary evolution within the field of international education, according to Booth. When the SU Abroad program began, American study abroad experiences were focused on gaining exposure to another culture. But in this age of greatly increased mobility, technology and intercultural exchange, a new model is required that aggressively works to facilitate even deeper participation and engagement with that culture. The SU Europe team is focused on developing partnerships with host-city universities and best-in-class American universities whose programs and locations complement SU offerings. Such partnerships will result in varying arrangements, from partial residencies within host campuses to agreements that expand class offerings by host institutions. The overall effect will be a greatly increased range of choice, coupled with a more integrated and transformative experience in which students learn and grow by adapting to and succeeding in an unfamiliar environment.
SU Abroad currently operates seven overseas centers—in Beijing, Florence, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Santiago (Chile) and Strasbourg (France). Each SU center is managed by an academic director and bicultural support staff, and has close ties with local universities, allowing students to design integrated programs appropriate to their academic and language abilities.