Study abroad programs growing at Marquette

While Marquette offers more than 60 study abroad programs, including 10 Marquette-sponsored or faculty-led trips, only 22 percent of Marquette graduating seniors from 2010 said they studied overseas, according to an exit survey.

But that low percentage may soon change. Terence Miller, director of the Office of International Education, said Marquette’s student participation is steadily growing, with an 11 percent increase in students who went abroad last year.

Miller said that increase looks more significant in comparison to new statistics from this fall alone, which show a 68 percent increase from last fall semester.

He identifies a potential cause for the growth as the expansion of Marquette’s home-billing program–a process that allows the transfer of Marquette aid and scholarships to other universities–to 13 more programs last year. Students now have “a host of programs to apply for,” Miller said.

Some of those programs differ by college, with some selected specifically for certain schools. Miller said the College of Business Administration has many more study abroad options (totaling 21 for undergraduates as well as a graduate business program) because the international business major requires a study abroad component.

Marquette sponsors two of its own overseas programs, in Madrid and South Africa, and many other Jesuit universities have similar programs around the world and allow other Jesuit students to attend.

Miller said the international offices from the 28 Jesuit universities in the United States meet twice a year. He said many of these programs have home-billing, but not all Jesuit programs are included in that financial gain.

Marquette and Gonzaga University, another Jesuit institution, have similar programs and application processes, but the universities differ in the number of students participating. Katuska Kohut, who works in Gonzaga’s study abroad office, said approximately 40 percent of Gonzaga students study abroad – nearly double the 22 percent of Marquette seniors who studied abroad, according to the 2010 exit survey.

“Gonzaga has a list of sponsored study abroad programs, as does Marquette, and our students are welcome to apply to these programs,” Kohut said. “Included in our list of programs are some programs offered by other Jesuit schools.”

Blake Ward, study abroad coordinator at Marquette, said students can choose programs from a similar list on Marquette’s website. There they can search for different types of programs sponsored by Marquette.

One option, the successful Gonzaga-in-Florence program, has admitted students to academic, semester and summer study abroad programs since 1963, said Kohut.

“Gonzaga-in-Florence’s (study abroad programs) are designed to challenge students to think critically, acquire global awareness, and develop the total self,” Kohut said.

But Miller said Marquette utilizes the Loyola Chicago and John Cabot study abroad programs at universities in Italy instead of Gonzaga’s program in Florence.

“The Gonzaga program is not a program we have adopted here,” Miller said.

A Marquette student could apply to Gonzaga-in-Florence, but the home-billing would not allow for scholarships to transfer as they would in other programs.

Ward said the first step in planning to go abroad would be to attend a general information session, which are every Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Union.

“If a student comes in (as a freshman) knowing they want to study abroad – you’re in a good spot,” Ward said.

He said students can get a step-by-step guide to planning a study abroad trip from the Office of International Education.

After researching the types of programs and possibly meeting with an academic adviser, Ward said students should set up a one-on-one advising session with the study abroad office before applying.

Ward said Marquette’s study abroad application is actually “more streamlined” than those at some other universities because students apply only one semester before going abroad and Marquette has worked out most problems with the online application.