by Jenny Wells, Derrick Meads
(Dec. 12, 2013) — The University of Kentucky has more students participating in Education Abroad (EA) programs than any other higher education institution in Kentucky, according to recently released data by the Institute of International Education. The 2013 Open Doors Report revealed that UK sent 845 students abroad in the 2011-12 academic year.
The report also showed that UK enrolls more international students (nearly 1,900 in 2011-12) than any other institution in the state, a lead the university has maintained for many years.
“A UK education creates a hunger in its students to learn more," said Susan Carvalho, associate provost for international programs. "By pursuing educational opportunities abroad they refine their skills of discovery and equip themselves for the flexibility and intercultural communication skills that they need for the workplace that they are entering.”
According to Anthony Ogden, director of Education Abroad & Exchanges, the growth and sustainability of international education at UK is due in part to the curriculum integration, which aligns EA programming with the academic strengths of the university.
“Traditionally education abroad was associated with a small number of disciplines and focused towards people who were planning to work across borders, but today all professionals work across borders,” said Ogden. “Curriculum integration creates opportunities abroad that dovetail with the students major and refines the skills to be competitive for that first job after graduation.”
Last year the number of students enrolled in EA programs rose by an astonishing 39 percent. This year EA has retained that growth, proving that their work is creating sustainable change on UK’s campus.
“For many years people looked at education abroad as being a trip abroad, now we are enabling students to engage their discipline in an international and intercultural context,” said Ogden. “There is no job whether in design, agriculture or business that does not require students to understand the international dimension of their disciplines.”
The growth is also due in part to initiatives such as the Major Advising Pages, which assists students with selecting programs that most closely align with their majors. These abroad programs integrate into the students' degree programs, and do not delay the time to degree completion.
EA has also intensified the diversity of its portfolio through five experience types – study abroad, research abroad, intern abroad, teach abroad, and service learning abroad.
“For some majors it may be more important to gain demonstrated practical skills abroad,” said Ogden. “An internship abroad could help a business major show that he or she worked in an internationally-oriented business. Students who plan to go on to graduate school may want to engage in research abroad. Social work and healthcare majors may be more drawn to a service learning abroad program.”
The growth in the numbers of students coming and going also reflects how the UK International Center is serving the UK community by facilitating the interaction of global students and scholars, according to Carvalho.
“We not only create diverse opportunities for global experiences, but also promote the involvement of UK faculty and students in the international community of scholars to investigate and solve global problems,” Carvalho said.
Ogden believes UK’s success is contingent upon all of Kentucky’s institutions of higher education.
“If all families and students, whether at UK or University of Louisville, hear the same message, that international education is important, that international knowledge and expertise is important, then we will be successful,” said Ogden.
For more information about international education at UK visit www.uky.edu/international.
About the Institute of International Education
Founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is a private nonprofit leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. In collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors, IIE creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors. These programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and offers support to scholars in danger.
For more information about the Institute of International Education and the Open Doors Report, visit www.iie.org.
Video by UK Public Relations & Marketing.