Study abroad rates continue to climb, breaks record of past years

Study Abroad Director Barbara Lindeman: “During 2014–15, Mizzou sent a record number of students abroad with 1,473 students participating, which was 22% of the undergraduate class.”

During the 2014-15 school year, 5.3 percent of undergraduate students participated in the study abroad program, nearly 4 percent percent higher than the national average.

MU Study Abroad Director Barbara Lindeman said the office is still finalizing data for the 2015-16 academic year. However, the previous year’s percentage broke the record for the number of students who studied abroad.

“During 2014-15, Mizzou sent a record number of students abroad with 1,473 students participating, which was 22% of the undergraduate class,” Lindeman said in an email.

She said the 22 percent is calculated based on the Institute of International Education’s formula, not the entire undergraduate class.

“Undergraduate study abroad participants [are] divided by the number of undergraduate degrees conferred that year,” Lindeman said in the email. “In this specific calculation we further use the IIE data definition for undergraduate participants, which includes only degree-seeking students who are U.S. citizens/permanent residents.”

The national average of college students studying abroad was 1.5 percent in the 2013-14 academic year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators’ website. Lindeman said in the email that she is aware that planning for going abroad is a major factor in assisting students to actually travel. The program has focused on getting students involved as early as possible.

“Mizzou has implemented a number of new initiatives to help increase the percentage of students who study abroad,” she said in the email. “We have increased our outreach to incoming students to encourage early planning for study abroad.”

In 2015, the International Center began a program titled Operation Passport in an effort to prepare undergraduate students for future abroad trips.

“Under Operation Passport, we’ve contacted nearly 5,000 domestic first time college students enrolled at MU for fall 2016,” Lindeman said in the email. “We also have expanded our focus on addressing financial barriers through offering workshops on conventional and innovative ways to fund study abroad and by identifying additional scholarship funding.”

Lindeman said the program has expanded internship opportunities.

“In addition, we have increased programing and outreach to encourage study abroad participation by students who have traditionally been underrepresented or underserved, including students from historically underrepresented majors such as Health Professions, Pell-eligible students and first-generation college students,” Lindeman said in the email.

MU is increasing efforts to raise study abroad rates for all schools and colleges.

“In absolute numbers, the College of Arts and Sciences sends the largest number of students abroad, followed by the Trulaske College of Business, School of Journalism, College of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources and Health Professions,” Lindeman said in the email. “If you take into account the size of the college, Journalism has the highest undergraduate participation rate, followed by Business, CAFNR, then HES.”

Junior Katherine Hayes recently traveled to Greece through MU’s “From the Bronze Age to the Byzantine Empire” program and blogged about her experience with a Greek family.

“In all my time in Greece, I never expected to be so lucky — to be able to say that I not only learned about the history, language and landscape of this magnificent country, but I also learned about the people,” she wrote in the blog. “I learned about their families, their traditions and the values that they hold dear.”

Drew Dumas, the School of Journalism’s Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, said he has pride in the journalism school’s success with sending approximately one third of its students abroad.

“The majority of the students are going abroad for internships,” Dumas said. “We have three international programs which are in London, Barcelona and Brussels, and two domestic ones in New York and D.C.”

Domestic travelers are challenged with the task of finding their own internships, he said. However, the school works with major companies that are specifically looking for MU journalism students.

Dumas graduated from MU in 2010 and went on to live in New Zealand through Education USA, where he advised high school students on continuing their higher education in the U.S. He said he is passionate about studying abroad, as he believes it grows students in more ways than most people realize.

“I think if you’re going to be reporting on your own culture and your country’s politics, at some point you need to be outside of your culture and looking in on it,” Dumas said. “All of that is critical at any level of journalism whether or not you plan to work domestically; you need to have a global framework and reference. And from a networking standpoint, journalism isn’t just national. When you go abroad, you meet people you will run into again.”

Lindeman said students enjoy studying abroad.

“Students returning from study abroad consistently report that their study abroad experience was one of the highlights of their time studying at MU,” Lindeman said. “Students who study abroad learn more about the world and themselves, gain new perspectives on their academics and develop transferable skills for the global workforce.”

Edited by Claire Mitzel |

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