Nov. 22, 2011
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SRU international study opportunities earn national recognition
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University earned two national recognitions in the Institute of International Education’s recent Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange. The University was ranked 14th among master’s degree-granting institutions for students participating in short-term study abroad programs, and 34th for the total number of study abroad students.
Nearly 271,000 U.S. students studied abroad during the 2009/10 academic year – 412 of them were from Slippery Rock University.
“While Slippery Rock University has been offering international study opportunities to our students since the early 1970s, we have seen huge growth in our short-term programs over recent years. This follows patterns seen across the U.S., and our spring break seminars have especially taken a life of their own, growing exponentially,” said Pamela Frigot, director of SRU’s Office of International Services.
“These programs combine international travel with academic coursework during the spring semester on campus, broadening perspectives from how and why things are done as they are in the U.S., to compare and contrast with another country and culture. Spring 2012 programs will include physical therapy students traveling to Spain to learn about educational programs and practices there; a special education group visiting schools and conducting research in the Netherlands; and art history students seeing pre-Columbian art first-hand in Peru,” she said. Some 386 students participated in short term programs during 2009/10.
“In addition, SRU has international exchange agreements with 24 other universities and organizations around the world. By making use of these agreements, SRU students can spend a semester, or an entire academic year, studying abroad and earning course credit,” Frigot said.
“SRU has long promoted the dual mission of bringing international students to campus and sending SRU students abroad for academic study, and our numbers show we are succeeding. I am very proud of our international study abroad programs,” said Robert Smith, SRU president. Some 412 students participated in study abroad opportunities during 2009/10. There are currently 70 students from other countries studying at SRU.
“While there is certainly concern from parents about international travel, we work very hard to ensure security and safety while simultaneously exposing our students to the world and the vast educational opportunities available through international travel. Such programs help students develop a global strategy and a global perspective that they will bring to their careers and service as leaders,” he said. “For many of our students, these opportunities are their first to travel outside the U.S. It is an adventure they will remember for the rest of their lives,” he said.
The Open Doors Report, published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and released in Washington, D.C., tallied 270,604 U.S. students studying abroad for credit during the 2009/10 academic year, compared to 260,327 the previous year.
The report noted study abroad by students enrolled in U.S. higher education has more than tripled over the past two decades. The United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and China remained the top host destinations. SRU had students studying in all four of those nations. The report found notable increases in U.S. students going to study in many of the less traditional destinations.
Fifteen of the top 25 destinations were outside of Western Europe and 19 were countries where English is not a primary language. There was a 44 percent increase in U.S. students going to India. Israel, Brazil and New Zealand also showed large percentage gains. Substantial increases were reported in U.S. students going to Egypt.
Internships overseas are also increasing, with 20,000 U.S. students reporting work-abroad participation during the latest reporting period.
“Studying abroad enables American students to obtain first-hand experience in other countries and cultures, to prepare them as 21st-century professionals and leaders in all fields. The international skills they gain are crucial to their ability to succeed in global careers and work together across borders to address important world issues,” said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education. “It is important that we as educators work to try to ensure that all students have the opportunity to study abroad.”
The Open Doors Report noted 24 institutions reported sending more than 70 percent of their students abroad during their undergraduate careers.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.