More USC students go abroad
Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm in News
Though a recent report indicated that the number of U.S. students traveling abroad declined during the 2008-2009 school year, this trend was not seen at USC.
The âOpen Doors Report on International Educational Exchange,â an annual report that measures the number of students traveling outside the United States, was released last week by the Institute of International Education. Approximately 1,000 higher education institutions in the United States contributed to the report, including USC.
This was the first time in 25 years that the numbers had decreased. The study found that from the 2007-2008 to the 2008-2009 school year, there was a decline of 0.8 percent in the number of students choosing to study abroad.
Peggy Blumenthal, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the institute, said the economy played a large role in causing this decrease.
âThe serious economic challenges that American families and U.S. campuses were facing in 2008 certainly affected participation rates in study abroad that year,â Blumenthal said in an e-mail.
At USC, however, the numbers have been increasing moderately since 2007.
In the 2007-2008 academic year, the Open Doors survey reported that 1,931 USC students traveled abroad. In 2008 to 2009, the number rose to 2,348, making USC number five in the top institutions that sent students abroad.
Stephen Bucher, chair of the Off-Campus Studies Panel committee and director of the Engineering Writing Program at the Viterbi School of Engineering, said there are three main reasons why the study abroad numbers have been increasing at USC.
âOne is that the university leadership has made globalization one of the priorities of the university,â he said. âThat has an effect on encouraging students and faculty to participate in these types of efforts.â
The other two reasons, he said, are the innovative new study abroad programs that faculty are creating and the enthusiasm of the students.
âFor whatever reason, the students who come to USC tend to want to go abroad,â he said.
Daniella Acuna, a junior majoring in international relations, will be studying abroad in Spain next spring.
Acuna said she had always planned on studying abroad.
âUSC wants you to have a really full college experience and I think studying abroad is one of the best things you can do in college,â she said.
Despite the slight national decrease in the number of students traveling abroad, Blumenthal said a fall 2010 survey conducted in cooperation with the Forum on Education Abroad indicated that the study abroad numbers are already beginning to rebound.
âMore than half of the campuses responding (55 percent) said they had seen an increase in the number of their students studying abroad in 2009-10 compared to the previous year,â she wrote.
In addition, the Open Doors report also found that students are now choosing less traditional destinations for their time abroad.
Four of the top five destinations Â â the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and France â have witnessed declines in the number of exchange students over the past couple of years.
However, the number of students traveling to China, the last of the top five countries, has increased steadily in the last two years.
Bucher said this trend is also seen at USC.
âThe new programs that are being proposed tend to be in more non-traditional locations,â he said.
Blumenthal said, however, that many students are still interested in studying in the more popular locations.
âThe U.S. continues to have strong educational ties to countries in Western Europe,â she wrote.
Colleen Brosnan, a junior majoring in neuroscience and international relations, said she is planning on traveling abroad in Prague next fall.
Brosnan said she traveled to China for the summer two years ago and thought about spending the semester there.
âI considered going there for the whole semester, but I decided I wanted to go somewhere different,â she said. âIâve heard really good things about it.â