Centre College ranked #4 in the nation for study abroad

Posted by Centre News in News, Rankings, Study Abroad 23 Nov 2015

SAOnce again, Centre College has been honored as one of the country’s top institutions for study abroad, with a #4 national ranking in the 2015 Institute of International Education (IIE) report on study abroad participation rates for undergraduate colleges.

A longtime leader in international education, Centre has been in the top 5 of the IIE ranking all but one year over the last decade. In addition, the College has been ranked #1 in the nation twice over the last five years, in 2014 and 2012.

“I talk often with students about Centre College being a place of intellectual adventure,” said Centre President John A. Roush. “The study-abroad experience is a cornerstone of this adventure—profoundly good, extraordinarily educational and all about preparing students for global lives of work and service.”

The current #4 IIE ranking equals what Centre earned this year in U.S. News & World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” guide and is one place higher than the #5 national ranking for study abroad by Princeton Review.

Each ranking is computed by a different methodology, however.

IIE calculates the participation percentage by treating the number of students studying abroad as the numerator and the number of graduates that year as the denominator. If a student studies abroad, say, in the fall as well as during the College’s three-week CentreTerm in January, he or she is counted twice. Since this is not an uncommon occurrence, Centre’s participation rate often exceeds 100 percent, as it did again this year, for the fourth time in a row.

On average, 85 percent of Centre graduates study abroad once, 25 percent study twice and 5 percent study abroad three or more times.

The 2015 ranking was based on data from the 2013-2014 academic year, which saw 365 study abroad experiences by Centre students. According to Milton Reigelman, director of the Center for Global Citizenship, about half of this number studied abroad for a full semester.

Centre completely runs and staffs its own long-term, residential programs in Strasbourg, France; Merida, Mexico; and London, England. In each of these cities, students live with fellow Centre students, sometimes in homestays with local residents, and are taught by Centre professors and local experts.

“Planned excursions often include travel to neighboring or nearby countries, such as the weeklong trip to Cuba this past October for students studying in Merida,” Reigelman said. “On their own, students in some programs such as Strasbourg also travel to three or four different countries on weekends and holidays.”

Other semester-long programs are available in Shanghai, China; Reading, England; Yamaguchi, Japan; Glasgow, Scotland; and Northern Ireland options at Queens or Ulster universities.

Centre students also have numerous study abroad options through the Kentucky Institute for International Study (KIIS) for travel to Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, and elsewhere.

A special highlight of Centre’s study abroad opportunities occurs each January when faculty organize courses across the globe, sometimes team-teaching a class.

Faculty in biology and philosophy, for instance, will teach a course on ecology and ethics in Borneo; an art historian will take students on museum excursions in the European cities of Amsterdam, Ghent and Vienna; a Spanish professor and economist will study Cuba’s post-revolutionary economy, traveling to Havana and six other Cuban cities; and students will learn about education in a developing country first hand by traveling to Ghana with professors in anthropology and education. Other courses are being taught in Barbados, England, France, Israel, Italy, New Zealand and Thailand.

In total, said Reigelman, these courses will “literally cover the globe, with three in East Asia, five in Europe, two in Africa and the Middle East, and three in Latin America.”

International internships, in places like Brazil and China, are increasingly popular as well at Centre College, thanks to the College’s Centre for Career & Professional Development.

Created in 1919 after the end of World War I to promote peace through international educational exchange, the Institute of International Education began publishing study abroad in 1949. Issued each November ever since, the IIE “Open Doors” report is regarded as the authoritative source on international education, tracking trends of American students studying abroad and international students who study in the United States.

For more information about the “Open Doors” report, visit the IEE website.

Learn more about study abroad and global citizenship at Centre College.

by Michael Strysick
November 23, 2015