Ayllon aims to expand study abroad at MU during his time as director

Dr. Miguel Ayllon aims to help customize students’ study abroad experiences while boosting participation at MU.
The newly appointed director of study abroad, Dr. Miguel Ayllon, hopes to expand the study abroad program here at MU.

Miguel Ayllon, PhD, who has served as interim director of study abroad in the International Center since Jan. 2018, began his appointment as director of study abroad on Sept. 1.

Ayllon aims to help customize students’ study abroad experiences while boosting participation at Mizzou.

“It’s an exciting time to talk about study abroad on our campus,” Ayllon said. “There is institutional commitment for experiential learning [at MU]. There’s ambition for the future. We want study abroad to be part of the DNA of Mizzou students.”

The study abroad office has been working on customizing students’ study abroad experiences based on the skills they will need for their major and to be competitive in the job market after graduation.

“We want to build a relevant global experience for Mizzou students during their college careers,” Ayllon said.

Making sure that study abroad opportunities matchup with student’s career goals is important to Ayllon.

“We want to meet students where they are,” Ayllon said. Some students will be comfortable just doing a two-week program in New Zealand. Others will be ready to do a whole year in South Africa.”

Mizzou has been working harder than ever at increasing study abroad opportunities because employers are looking for students that are able to compete at a global level, Ayllon said.

The office also believes that study abroad will help students gain much needed experience before heading into the workforce.

Ayllon believes that study abroad is one of the best experiential learning activities students can do at college, and he hopes that since study abroad has proved to be beneficial, more students will begin to participate.

One in four MU students has participated in study abroad, Ayllon said, and the office is hoping to expand that statistic. The office hopes to increase participation from roughly 24 percent of students studying abroad during their undergraduate experience to 30 percent by 2023.

Ayllon himself is a product of study abroad.

“Study abroad is a part of my personal story,” Ayllon said. “I’m originally from Lima, Peru, and back when I was 17-years-old, I made a decision to study abroad in the US. Almost 20 years later, I’m here in Missouri. I had no idea that study abroad would give me a career that I love.”

Ayllon’s personal experience with study abroad made him passionate about helping others participate in the program.

“I want Mizzou students to also experience the transformative power of study abroad for their careers, for their academics, but ultimately, for their personal knowledge,” Ayllon said.

Edited by Caitlyn Rosen | crosen@themaneater.com

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