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10 Colleges with the Highest Rate of Study Abroad Programs

studyabroadA Campus of Another Country

At one time not so very long ago, the usual college student’s exposure to other cultures consisted of a requirement to take either Music History or Art History. Most college students also informally counted frequent meals of pizza and exposure to foreign beers as a more popular and entertaining form of cultural exposure.

Now, however, it seems that nearly every four-year college or university offers at least an abbreviated overseas class to be taken either between or during regular semesters. It has become the norm for many college students to spend a semester or even an entire academic year studying in a foreign country, adapting to cultural mores, learning the language and gaining a far greater understanding of the world than could be picked up in a domestic classroom.

The Lessons Students Learn

Among the first lessons students learn as they prepare for their overseas educational journeys is that of bureaucracy. Passports must be located, reported as lost or applied for in the first place. Student visas must be obtained from the countries in which the students will study and a study abroad insurance policy will need to be purchased for any required medical care while abroad. Depending upon the country, immunizations and prescription medication may be required to help protect students from indigenous diseases. Only after all these details are completed can a student put down his book bag and take a good look around.

Academic Communities That Encourage Studying Abroad

According to an article by Kelsey Sheehy on the “U.S. News & World Report” online magazine website, around 23 percent of college students reported a study abroad experience at some point during their four or five year undergraduate quest. Sheehy’s top 10 list of schools with the highest proportion of undergraduate foreign study includes two schools that absolutely require satisfactory completion of a class taken abroad to be awarded a baccalaureate degree. The last two schools on the list reported identical rates of 70 percent of students having taken some coursework abroad at some time during their college experience.

As identified by Sheehy’s article, the schools and their reported rates of undergraduate participation are as follows:

  1. Goucher College in Maryland, 100 percent
  2. Soka University of America in California, 100 percent
  3. Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina, 94 percent
  4. Loyola University of Maryland, 84 percent
  5. Kalamazoo College of Michigan, 82 percent
  6. Centre College of Kentucky, 80 percent
  7. Bethel University of Minnesota, 75 percent
  8. Elon University of North Carolina, 71 percent
  9. Carleton College of Minnesota, 70 percent
  10. University of Denver in Colorado, 70 percent

Long-Term Benefits

A recent study by IES Abroad, a nonprofit organization that provides study abroad programs for U.S. students, revealed that graduates of the group’s programs pull in an average of $7,000 more each year in their starting salaries than students who never studied abroad. Studying abroad is indeed beneficial in the long-term, giving graduates an edge when it comes to scoring better and higher-paying job opportunities after college. This can help to justify some of the up-front expense of a study abroad trip; even though it might cost a bit more up front than a typical semester or year Stateside, the benefit of traveling the world as a student will pay off in the form of salary gains down the line.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article is provided by Kristine Esser. She enjoys writing about study abroad opportunities for college students.

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