For Immediate Release
November 29, 2012
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UMD Rises to #15 in Nation for Study Abroad
By Evelyn Rabil
The new Institute of International Education's "2012 Open Doors" report ranks the University of Maryland 15th in the nation - up two places from the previous year - for the number of students studying abroad in 2010-2011. UMD had 1,975 students intern, study or volunteer overseas for credit that year - by far the most in the Washington-Baltimore area. They studied in a wide range of countries, including South Korea, Botswana and the United Arab Emirates.
"Students are recognizing that to become leaders in the 21st century, they need to have international experiences," says UMD Associate Vice President for International Affairs Ross Lewin. "Learning foreign languages, forging international friendships and understanding the different priorities and practices of other cultures are critical preparations for leadership in their disciplines.
Lewin anticipates an even greater jump for Maryland in the next "Open Doors" report, as the number of UMD students studying abroad rose to more than 2,200 last year.
"It used to be that humanities students were primarily the group that studied abroad," he says. "Now you see a huge number of business, engineering, biology and social science students going."
They are also traveling to more diverse places. While the majority of students still choose Western European countries, such as Italy, England, France and Spain, locations like China, Africa and Latin America are becoming more popular, Lewin says.
The "2012 Open Doors" reports that 14 of the top 25 destinations for U.S. college students were non-European countries in the 2010-2011 academic year. The number of math and computer science students studying abroad increased 21.5 percent in one year, 14.2 percent in the health fields, and 6.7 percent in the sciences.
The University of Maryland has helped nudge the trend along by designing shorter study abroad programs to accomodate students in business, the sciences and engineering. These fields tend to have more rigid curricula, and missing one semester could set a student back a year. The Education Abroad office at the University of Maryland now offers a variety of three-week programs for credit in the summer and winter terms, Lewin explains.
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