UW-Madison to celebrate international education

By: Sarah Carter /The Daily Cardinal

A UW-Madison education does not just happen on campus, but stretches across the globe.

This week marks the eighth annual International Education Week, and UW-Madison is recognizing its efforts as a global university.

According to Masarah Van Eyck, director of communications for the UW-Madison division of international studies, there are short-term, semester-long and year-long study abroad programs, and it’s in the semester and year-term programs where “UW-Madison aims to excel.”

Rob Howell, director of international academic programs and German professor, said UW-Madison’s international studies program ranked fifth nationally in semester-long programs and sixth nationally in year-long programs, with an overall ranking of 17th in the nation in the 2007 Open Doors report released Monday.

“To be fifth and sixth in the nation among research institutions nationwide is really a pretty exciting number,” Van Eyck said.

According to the Open Doors report, international students contributed nearly $165 million to Wisconsin’s economy in the form of tuition, fees and living expenses.

Howell said many of the campuses that ranked higher in the overall ranking than UW-Madison could have as many as 80 to 90 percent of their programs only having a one-week to three-week duration, so are able to send more students abroad.

He said UW-Madison sends over 1,600 students abroad, with Spain, England and Italy being the most popular destinations chosen. UW-Madison junior Nathan Fuller, who plans to study abroad next semester in Seville, Spain, said he chose to study abroad to gain a “different view on life.”

“I wanted to learn another language and just be away from what I’ve always been a part of.”

“Most of the studying abroad is the experience,” said UW-Madison junior Scott Mattingly, who studied abroad in Ireland this past summer. “What you gain from it is not in the classroom at all.” Students’ gains from studying abroad even reach into long-term careers, Van Eyck said.

“I don’t think it’s any surprise that the world is becoming increasingly interdependent,” she said. “All of our professions … are going to involve international collaborations in ways that they never did before.”

Various events to recognize International Education Week are scheduled throughout campus, including daily workshops students interested in studying abroad, a panel of doctoral students who have traveled around the world and a “Taste of Southwest Asia” celebration.