Dec. 6, 2004

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Contact: Alison Watkins, Graduate School & International Programs, (785) 864-4963.

KU ranks 4th in nation as study abroad enrollment rises 12 percent, tops 1,000

LAWRENCE -- More than 1,000 University of Kansas students now study abroad each year, a 12 percent increase that has KU ranked fourth among the nation's public research institutions in the proportion of its students studying abroad.

The increase, reported in the just-released 2004 Open Doors Report, a national survey of international education produced by the Institute of International Education, also shows that a quarter of all KU students will have completed international study by the time they graduate.

“ Thanks to the combined efforts of faculty, students, staff and parents, KU's study abroad programs are thriving,” said Susan Gronbeck-Tedesco, director of KU Study Abroad. “Students clearly understand the importance of expanding their educational programs with international study.”

The Office of Study Abroad, which offers 100 programs in more than 50 countries, is one of many opportunities at KU for international education. In 2002, at the request of Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Shulenburger, the Task Force on Internationalization recommended ways to give every undergraduate a significant international experience.

The increase in study abroad participation fulfills one of those recommendations, Gronbeck-Tedesco said. Other initiatives that came out of the task force's report include the Global Awareness Program (GAP), which recognizes undergraduates' international activities on and off campus with certification on their transcripts.

“ One of the hallmarks of a KU education is that it prepares a student to be a global citizen,” said Diana Carlin, dean of the graduate school and international programs. “Economic and political realities make it necessary for every student to understand other cultures and the role the United States plays in the world. Study abroad is an important element in providing those perspectives, and KU's excellent programs are what make our participation rates nearly 10 times those of the national average.”

In 2002-03, 1,040 KU degree-seeking students studied overseas, compared with 929 a year earlier.
Among public research institutions, only the universities of North Carolina, Delaware and Virginia have higher student participation rates than KU. In terms of the total number of students studying abroad, KU ranked 19th among public research institutions in the United States and among three Big 12 schools in the top 20. The other schools are Colorado and Texas, both of which have higher enrollment.


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