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Smith College Number One in Long-term Study Abroad

Smith College sends more of its students to study abroad for full academic-year programs than any other baccalaureate institution in the country, according to statistics from the Open Doors 2007 Report on International Education Exchange, an annual survey produced by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The survey, which tracks information on study-abroad trends among American institutions, has been conducted every year since 1985-86. The Open Doors program surveys more than 1,500 accredited colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The 2007 survey reflects a study conducted in the academic year 2005-06, which is the most recent data available. It showed that Smith sent 150 students abroad that year. Mount Holyoke College ranked seventh on the long-term list with 72 of its students studying abroad; Wellesley College ranked ninth on the list with 66 students.

American students are studying abroad in record numbers, according to the annual report, which was released Nov. 12. With an increase of 8.5 percent, the total number of American students studying abroad was 223, 534, the report found, with 26 percent going to Asia, 14 percent in Latin America, 19 percent in Africa and 31 percent in the Middle East.

A full academic year abroad gives students the best opportunity to immerse themselves not only in their academic program, but also to engage in the culture of the host country and to form friendships and lasting relationships with others students and colleagues, notes Alison Noyes, assistant dean for international study at Smith.

“We’re proud of the number of our students who choose to study abroad for a full year,” said Noyes. “The longer length transforms the study-abroad experience from a visit into a more immersed situation in which students are living within a different culture. That’s what students often seek when they study abroad: how to view the world from another perspective.”

Smith has sought to cultivate study-abroad opportunities for many years, and sent students to programs in 37 countries on five continents this year. Smith’s robust study-abroad network has led to a high yield of students winning fellowships to work and study abroad, says Greg White, professor of government, who mentors Fulbright candidates at Smith.

“We often talk about Smith as a ‘world college,’” he said. “There’s a strong interest and an emphasis on going abroad here that is, perhaps, unique. Time and time again, the successful Fulbright candidates are those who have been abroad.”

In addition to the 14 Smith students named as Fulbright fellows this year, the college helped 49 alumnae and current students win fellowships with several other programs in a variety of countries.

IIE is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes relations between the United States and other countries through training and educational programs.

11/19/07   By Eric Sean Weld
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