UD ranks among top institutions in study abroad
This photo was taken in Brazil, where UD students are studying language and culture under the direction of Profs. Carla Guerron-Montero, anthropology, and Mayra Bonet, foreign languages and literatures.
This photo was taken in Tunisia, where UD students are studying language and culture under the direction of Kahlil Masmoudi, instructor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

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4:15 p.m., Nov. 16, 2009----The University of Delaware now ranks third among all public and private doctorate research institutions in the United States in the number of undergraduates participating in short-term study-abroad programs, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE).

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Nationally, “short-term programs,” ranging from two to eight weeks long, serve the largest number of Americans studying abroad (56 percent), according to IIE's latest annual report on international student exchange, Open Doors 2009.

UD moved up from fourth last year to third this year in that category, behind only Michigan State University and the University of Georgia, and also made gains in two other categories involving the top 40 doctoral research institutions -- now ranking 19th (up from 21st last year) for the percent of undergrads that study abroad (45.6 percent), and to 21st (up from 24th last year) for the number of students participating in study abroad (1,700) during the 2007-08 school year.

“These latest rankings point to our continuing efforts to develop strategic partnerships with institutions throughout the world that will engage students and the entire UD community as global citizens and provide opportunities for enrichment from academic, research, social, and cultural perspectives,” said UD Deputy Provost Havidán Rodríguez, who led the development of UD's new Institute for Global Studies (IGS).

UD has long been a leader in global studies, embarking on the first study-abroad program in the United States in 1923. A continuing emphasis on internationalization of the UD campus is underscored in the Global Initiative in the University's Path to ProminenceTM. In October, the University launched the Institute for Global Studies to further expand the University's global reach and impact and to build and strengthen international partnerships for education and research.

Currently, UD offers more than 80 study-abroad programs in over 45 countries, and new partnerships are being developed in China, Korea, and South America.

Lesa Griffiths, director of the Center for International Studies within the IGS, attributes UD's success in study abroad to the commitment and passion of the faculty, the interest of the students in better understanding other cultures, a strong administrative support system, and scholarships.

UD, through the IGS, awards over $400,000 in both merit- and needs-based scholarships to students for study abroad, and many departments offer additional scholarships for their students, she noted.

“All of the faculty directors that design and lead these programs are very committed to international education -- it's becoming an integral part of their departments,” Griffiths said.

In particular, during the time period that data were collected for the rankings, over 30 faculty from the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature directed 23 programs abroad, and they offered over 40 courses including courses in culture and in 10 different languages, Griffiths noted.

“It is the passion and commitment of faculty like these that make so many opportunities available for University of Delaware students to study abroad,” Griffiths said.

Additionally, Griffiths noted that the student participation rate is high because UD offers programs in a wide range of academic disciplines, including professional school education. During a one-year period, UD offered study-abroad programs in all seven colleges with courses from 37 different academic units.

“Study abroad has not always been an accepted part of a professional school education nationally, but it is here at UD,” Griffiths said. “The College of Engineering offers programs in civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science and engineering, and the Lerner College of Business and Economics offers a large number of programs across many departments including accounting, finance, business administration, and economics, as well as the MBA and hotel, restaurant and institutional management programs.”

The release of IIE's Open Doors report marks the beginning of International Education Week (Nov. 16-20), which is being celebrated across the UD campus with a variety of activities, from films, music, and lectures, to an international opportunities and careers fair.

Described as the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States, IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of the international students in the United States since 1919, and with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since the early 1970s. The census is based on a survey of approximately 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions.

Article by Tracey Bryant

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