Centre College continues to hold prominence as a leader in international education, with an endorsement released this week by the Institute of International Education (IIE) distinguishing the College with a #3 national ranking for study abroad participation rates at an undergraduate institution.
Centre has consistently ranked among the top colleges in the nation in the “Open Doors” report, being named in the top 5 of the IIE report all but one year over the last decade. In 2014 and 2012, the College was ranked #1 in the nation.
Director of the Center for Global Citizenship Milton Reigelman attributes the success of Centre’s program to the College’s strong focus on global citizenship emphasized by its study abroad guarantee and a free passport for every incoming student as part of the Centre Commitment.
“Study abroad is central to the Centre experience—an ‘adventure,’ if you will—underscoring our responsibility to prepare students to function and succeed in an increasingly interconnected world,” he says.
The IIE designation follows a number of national rankings and college guidebooks that have recently acknowledged Centre’s premier study abroad program.
U.S. News & World Report has routinely ranked the College in the top 5 nationally for study abroad over several years. In its 2016 report, it named Centre a “Best College” pick for its study abroad program, a distinction echoed by the Princeton Review’s latest listing of America’s best colleges that cites Centre as a place that equips students with “a global perspective.”
While these ranking methodologies may vary, the IIE “Open Doors” report is unique in that it calculates the number of study abroad experiences three weeks or longer in a given year divided by the number of graduates. 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 uncommon, Centre’s participation rate often exceeds 100 percent, as it did again this year, for the fifth time in a row.
The 2016 IIE ranking was based on data from the 2014-15 academic year, which saw 383 students taking advantage of Centre’s study abroad guarantee, nearly half of whom traveled for a full semester.
In total, 85 percent of Centre students have studied abroad at least once during their college career and approximately 30 percent have traveled two or more times.
According to Reigelman, the high participation rates are reflective of a robust program that epitomizes two hallmarks of the College’s curriculum, high-impact and community-based learning, in locations across the globe.
Centre’s signature long-term, residential programs in Strasbourg, France; Merida, Mexico; and London, England are completely staffed and run by the College. 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.
“Students in Centre’s semester programs abroad shop, cook, interact with homestay families and neighbors, and engage in an internship or worksite,” says Reigelman. “The site itself is a student’s ‘lab.’”
Other semester-long programs are available in Shanghai, China; Reading, England; Yamaguchi, Japan; Glasgow, Scotland; and Northern Ireland options at Queens or Ulster universities.
The three-week CentreTerm programs span the world and are often team-taught with an interdisciplinary focus. Upcoming CentreTerm courses this January include travel to Austria, Belgium, Cuba, England, France, Ghana, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Thailand.
“Students everywhere routinely say that their study abroad experience is the defining part of their college education,” explains Reigelman. “At Centre, many faculty say that teaching their disciplines in a different cultural context has broadened and enriched their material.
“Even more, doing so has internationalized our campus as nothing else could have,” he concludes.
The Institute of International Education was created in 1919 after the end of World War I to promote peace through international educational exchange. Its “Open Doors” report, which first appeared in 1949, is issued each November and 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.
by Amy Clark Wise
November 15, 2016