The College of William and Mary has a greater percentage of undergraduates who participate in study abroad programs than any other public institution offering doctoral degrees in the United States, according to a recent study by the Institute of International Education.
The IIE's Open Doors 2009 Report on International Educational Exchange ranks William & Mary as 17th among the top 40 doctorate institutions, with 46.3 percent of the College's undergraduates participating in study abroad programs. That percentage is up from last year's report, which had 46.1 percent of William & Mary's undergraduates participating in study abroad programs. The College also ranks above all other Virginia institutions - public and private -- in the report.
"William & Mary students are eager not only to see the world, but to master the cross-cultural skills that will help them succeed in a global society and economy-something many do by studying overseas," noted Laurie Koloski, director of the College's Reves Center for International Studies. "Our continued strong showing in study abroad also testifies to the work faculty and staff do to build unique programs that appeal to William & Mary students."
William & Mary offers undergraduates many study abroad opportunities through the Reves Center. The center provides students information, support and guidance on William & Mary-specific study abroad opportunities, exchanges with international universities, and programs sponsored by external companies and schools. Interested students can also attend study abroad workshops and talk with peer advisors through the center.
About half the students who study abroad each year attend William & Mary summer and semester-long programs. The Reves Center provided $172,000 in study abroad scholarships last year.
The Open Doors report is published annually by the IIE with funding from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The numbers contained in the 2009 report reflect study abroad conducted in the 2007-08 academic year.
According to an IIE press release on the 2009 report, a record number of U.S. students are now participating in study abroad programs. The number of American students studying abroad increased by 8.5 percent to 262,416 in the 2007/08 academic year.
"Today more than ever before, study abroad can help our students to understand our interconnected world and to participate productively in the global economy," said Judith A. McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. "The State Department strongly supports study abroad through such programs as the Fulbright Program, which is sending its largest number ever of U.S. students abroad this year, and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program -- which in two years has doubled the number of U.S. undergraduates with financial need whom we support for study abroad. I congratulate all the U.S. students who are taking advantage of these and other opportunities to study abroad."