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Smith Sends High Percentage of Students to Study Abroad

Eleanor Rivera ’04 (foreground) and her friends take a break from studying in Switzerland to trek near the Matterhorn

According to the annual report on international student mobility released recently by the Institute of International Education (IIE), Smith College had 429 students studying abroad during 2001-02, an increase of 22 percent from the previous year. Smith placed third, its highest ranking ever, on the list of baccalaureate institutions for study abroad. The most popular countries for Smith students were Britain, Australia, Italy, France, Scotland, Switzerland and Spain.

Interest in study abroad continues to grow at Smith, notes Adrian Beaulieu, associate dean for international study, “even if our recent numbers are down slightly.”

“Clearly, more and more students come to Smith thinking about doing study abroad -- to say nothing of those who chose Smith because of our own JYA programs -- and more students expect to include it as part of their undergraduate education. Study abroad is no longer an add-on in students' perceptions about college years. Rather, they see it as one more offering that many chose to include during their four years at Smith.”

IIE also recently released its figures on international students and scholars studying in the U.S. This survey covered the academic year 2002-03.

A major finding of the survey was that, after five years of steady growth, the number of international students attending colleges and universities in the U.S. showed only a slight increase over the prior year.

In 2002-03, Smith had 175 international undergraduates and 12 international graduate students, for a total of 187. This year, our numbers are up. We have 205 international undergraduates and 14 international graduate students, for a total of 219.

One thing that has helped is a grant from the Coulter Foundation, for the last three years, that has provided scholarships for some 15 international students each year. Institutional aid can then be granted to other international students.

One reason proposed for the national leveling-off of international enrollments is the introduction of visa restrictions after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. However, reports Hrayr Tamzarian, associate dean for international students, Smith has not seen any drop in numbers due to any visa problems.

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