UW-Madison students studying abroad in greater numbers

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by Ronnie Hess

UW-Madison students continue to study abroad in record numbers, according
to figures released by the UW-Madison Division of International Studies.

According to International Studies, the number of students studying abroad
in 2003-04 increased 11.7 percent from the previous year, above the national
figure of 9.6 percent cited in “Open Doors 2005,” the Institute of
International Education (IIE) annual report, released today in conjunction
with International Education Week.

In 2003-04, 1,609 UW-Madison students (up from 1,441) studied abroad in UW-Madison
programs offered by several campus units, or in non-UW-Madison programs for
which the students received transfer credit. International Studies’ International
Academic Programs offers the largest number of study abroad programs at the

Nationally, 191,321 U.S. students studied abroad, a record number according
to the IIE. Since the 2000-2001 academic year, the number of students studying
abroad nationally has gone up almost 20 percent. UW-Madison ranked No. 8 nationally
in the total number of students studying abroad, the report stated.

“The numbers demonstrate that our students increasingly view study abroad
as a vital part of their education, and as preparation for being able to succeed
in an increasingly globalized world,” says Gilles Bousquet, dean of International
Studies. “We want to continue to build on our record of excellence and
make study-abroad experiences affordable and accessible to as many students
as possible.”

UW-Madison students received credit for courses offered in more than 100 programs
on six continents. Consistent with national trends, Europe continues to be
the most popular destination, accounting for 59.9 percent of all UW-Madison
study-abroad participants. But, study abroad in non-traditional destinations
is expanding significantly.

The IIE reports that nationally study abroad to China increased dramatically
– by 90 percent in 2003-2004. At UW-Madison, it increased five-fold (from 12
students to 60), in part because of two new programs, a summer language program
and a short-term seminar geared toward human ecology students. In addition,
new Chou-Kuo Ping scholarships, offered in recognition of Professor Emeritus
Chou-Kuo Ping, have enabled several students to study abroad in China.

Although the Open Doors report shows that American students study abroad in
larger numbers but for shorter time periods, UW-Madison continues to send more
students abroad for one or two full terms during the academic year. The percentage
of UW-Madison students on yearlong programs is 12.3 percent while the national
figure is 6 percent. Campus-wide, 58.8 percent of students participated for
one full term in 2003-04, compared to the national average of 38 percent.

Bousquet says that the university continues to expand both the number and
type of study-abroad options available to students, including shorter-term

UW-Madison statistics have shown that study abroad does not necessarily delay “time
to degree,” the amount of time it takes a student to graduate.

Currently, 16.1 percent of current UW-Madison bachelor’s degree recipients have
studied abroad.