Centre ranked third in the nation for study abroad participation
February 24, 2011 By Leigh Cocanougher
for the percentage of students who study abroad. Many students
take advantage of CentreTerm trips to foreign countries, including
Israel, where senior Sarah Jennings captured the photo above.
“It was taken in Petra, a sixth-century B.C. city in Jordan,” she
says. “It was such a humbling experience to be not only in Petra
but just in the Middle East in general.”
Jenny Lisset Umaña ’12 (above, during the 2011 CentreTerm trip
to Israel) says that “if you give yourself up to the culture and
show a genuine interest or curiosity in the way they do things,
people are willing to show you everything; they tell you stories
and make sure you learn as much as they can teach you.”
Anne Evans ’12, who also participated in the CentreTerm trip to
Israel, captured this photo at Caesarea.
In the complete 2010 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, Centre College is ranked third in the nation for the percentage of students who study abroad. Centre is behind only Arcadia University, which serves primarily as a third-party study abroad company, and Goucher College, which requires its students to study abroad.
“The energy and enthusiasm of the Centre faculty for study abroad has catapulted us to this position,” says Milton Reigelman, director of international programs, special assistant to the president, and J. Rice Cowan Professor of English.
“Because of the energy and international perspective of the Centre faculty, we are now third in the percentage of students studying abroad,” he says. “But of colleges or universities where study abroad is not a requirement—as it is at No. 2 Goucher College—or that are not huge, third-party providers with 100 international programs attached to a small institution—as is No. 1 Arcadia University—Centre is first among the 4,000 or so colleges and universities in the United States.”
Open Doors, released by the Institute of International Education, is the only long-standing, comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars in the United States and on American students studying abroad for academic credit.
The annual Open Doors Report shares new statistics and analyses of international and U.S. “student flows” based on surveys of accredited higher educational institutions in the U.S.
Unlike most schools—including Arcadia and Goucher—Centre completely runs and staffs three full-term, residential abroad programs, held in London, England; Strasbourg, France; and Merida, Mexico. These offerings allow students to completely immerse themselves in foreign culture while being taught and directed by Centre professors.
“From my two opportunities to study abroad, the word that sticks out in my mind is ‘unexpected,’” says senior Paul Adams, who studied abroad for three months in Strasbourg and during a three-week CentreTerm trip to Bali. “Centre’s study abroad programs throw you into situations and civilizations you aren’t familiar with in the hope that you leave with a greater understanding and appreciation for the people and the place.”
In addition to the three residential programs, Centre also offers full-term exchange programs in China, Japan, Northern Ireland and Spain.
Shorter trips, too, offer opportunities to experience foreign life. Many professors lead trips abroad during the College’s CentreTerm, taking students around the world for three weeks in January. During recent CentreTerm trips, students have studied volcanoes in New Zealand; primates in Barbados; religion and politics in India; the sacred arts in Bali; political history in Vietnam; post-revolutionary life in Nicaragua; anthropology in Peru; the cultural history of Central Europe; and the diverse religious heritage of Spain.
Though students spend much less time abroad during CentreTerm, they return to the States with newfound appreciation for other cultures. “My preparation for Bali was all about sunshine and exotic music,” Adams says, “but the weeks we spent there were more about a culture struggling to balance what made it great in the past and what will make it great in the future.”
Jenny Lisset Umaña ’12 was also thrilled to discover the joys of a foreign culture during a recent CentreTerm trip.
“I loved studying abroad!” she says. “Before going anywhere, I would sit impatiently in my classes learning about people, their language, and their culture. While I was in Costa Rica, I got to see firsthand how people in the Colorado village lived. If you give yourself up to the culture and show a genuine interest or curiosity in the way they do things, people are willing to show you everything; they tell you stories and make sure you learn as much as they can teach you. I believe that for students to have study abroad success stories,” she continues, “they should forget about the other students around them and almost ‘sell their souls’ to the culture.”
To learn more about how Centre prepares its students to become global citizens, click here.