Centre among the nation’s leaders for study abroad
Two new reports place Centre College yet again among the nation’s best for study abroad programs, affirming the central role of international education in the College’s overall academic mission.
U.S. News & World Report ranks Centre #4 in the nation on its “Short List” of the “10 Colleges With the Most Students Studying Abroad,” and the “Open Doors 2011” report by the Institute of International Education ranks Centre #6 among all baccalaureate institutions for undergraduate participation.
“Study abroad at Centre is part of the College’s DNA,” says Milton Reigelman, the J. Rice Cowan Professor of English and director of the Center for Global Citizenship, which oversees all international programs. “And the way in which we’ve structured our program sets us apart among our peers.”
“Because our faculty design, plan and staff most all the programs, the entire campus becomes internationalized as a result,” adds Reigelman. “Our courses are intentionally small and interdisciplinary, so all variety of majors can mix and mingle. As a result, every experience is personal. We also include homestays in many programs to foster even greater cultural immersion.”
On average, approximately 85 percent of graduating seniors at Centre College have studied abroad at least once, and nearly 30 percent of Centre students study abroad two or more times. The majority of these experiences, about 60 percent, take place for a full semester. In addition, Centre students can choose from a variety of three-week programs offered during the January CentreTerm and in summer.
Both reports used data from the 2009-10 academic year, and the short-term courses taught that year are typical of CentreTerm offerings. “The Sacred Arts of Paradise” was taught in Bali; “China and the World” included visits to the cities of Xi-an, Nanjing, Shanghai and Beijing; “The Physical Science of Volcanoes,” taught in New Zealand, conducted most of its lectures in the field at active and dormant volcanoes; and “Education in Costa Rica” allowed students to live with families and teach in an elementary school.
Over the years, similar courses have taken students and their professors to Australia, Barbados, Bolivia, Borneo, Cameroon, Ecuador, Greece, Nicaragua, Peru and Vietnam, as well as the cities of Budapest, Moscow, Prague, St. Petersburg and Vienna. Future offerings include trips to Amsterdam, the Bahamas, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Israel, Scotland and Turkey.
Centre has well-established residential programs in London, Merida and Strasbourg, and exchange programs in China, Japan, Northern Ireland and Spain. A program geared toward pre-med majors at the University of Glasgow in Scotland begins in fall 2012.
The U.S. News ranking looks solely at the percentage of graduating seniors who have studied abroad, while the “Open Doors” report calculates total annual study abroad experiences divided by total degrees conferred that same year. As such, a student who does both a “short-term” trip of at least three weeks and a full semester trip in the same year is counted twice in the “Open Doors” report. This accounts for the numerical disparity in rankings despite using data from the same time period.
The emphasis on study abroad is part of the Centre Commitment, which guarantees an internship, study abroad experience and graduation within four years as long as students have met academic and social expectations. Centre also provides passports free of charge.