Study abroad numbers expected to rise

Students are leaving the country — through a study abroad program — at much higher rates both at Marquette and at other colleges and universities.

According to Kristen Michelson, study abroad coordinator in the College of Arts & Sciences, the number of students studying abroad during the 2004-'05 school year is expected to be about 264, 45 higher than the last school year. The number is much higher than 1999-'00, in which 172 students went abroad during the school year.

Enrollment in summer study abroad programs has dropped, however. In summer 2003, 150 students studied abroad and in summer 2004 the number dropped to 126.

Administrators at other schools, including Saint Louis University, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Loyola University Chicago, said they have also noticed a rise in the number of students going abroad.

Ismael Betancourt, study abroad coordinator at Saint Louis University, said the number of students taking at least a summer class in another country has risen about 10 to 15 percent since 2002.

He said more students have shown an interest in another country "with all that's going on in the world."

Some administrators are not sure the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing international conflicts led more people to try a study abroad program.

"Any residuals of 9/11 are pretty much past," said Adrian Sherman, director of International Education and Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

He said after the attacks, he noticed a "shift in the migratory pattern" of students. More students went to Australia, which was believed to be "safer" than European study abroad programs, Sherman said.

Studying abroad looks good on a resume, according to Joan Raducha, the associate dean of International Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Students considering a study abroad experience have their own reasons to go.

"I'm very interested in an out-of-Milwaukee, Marquette experience," said Rachel Newby, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences who hopes to attend the Marquette Study Center in Madrid, Spain, next fall.

Colin Bridgham, a sophomore in the College of Communication, plans to study at National University of Ireland-Galway next semester.

"I wouldn't have a chance to do this any other time in my life," Bridgham said.

Most students who go abroad do so either for only one semester, or part of a summer.

Kelly Heath, study abroad adviser at Loyola University Chicago, said there were "just a handful" of students from the university who went abroad this year for an entire school year.

Originally, study abroad programs were year-long and designed for students taking a foreign language, Raducha said. Because more students in different fields wanted to study abroad, schools developed one-semester and summer sessions, which became more popular and occasionally replaced year-long programs.

The few students — less than 10 percent of UW-Whitewater students who study abroad — who leave for a year are almost all taking a foreign language and want to be immersed in its culture, Sherman said.

Many students don't want to be abroad longer than a semester.

"A whole year seems like a long time" to students, Raducha said.

At Marquette, about 10 students left to study abroad for this entire school year, according to Michelson.