Study Abroad Hopes to Increase Participation in 2010-11

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By Katelyn McBride

The Office for Study Abroad (OfSA) sent more than 1,300 UI students abroad during the last academic year, and the goal for this year is for even greater participation. Janis Perkins, assistant dean of International Programs and director of OfSA, said the UI’s goal is for 30 percent of its undergraduates to have a study abroad experience, and especially this year to increase study abroad participation among under-represented groups.

Perkins said OfSA also hopes to launch the Iowa International Summer Institute, which will offer courses satisfying general education requirements in Paris, London and Florence.

Undergraduates will be able to learn more about study abroad opportunities at the annual study abroad fair, which will be held Sept. 14, 2010 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University Capitol Centre.

One of the newest programs offered by OfSA is a semester-long study abroad in Tanzania, made possible by a recent grant from the U.S. State Department. The program will begin in the fall of 2011.

“The goal of the U.S. Department of State ‘Capacity Building for Study Abroad’ grant program is to increase the number of programs offered for U.S. students in locations where there are relatively few programs available to our students,” said Perkins.

One of the challenges OfSA will face with the grant is to generate interest in Tanzania from UI students. Currently, 60 percent of U.S. students who study abroad do so in Western Europe, and the statistics are similar for UI students.

Students interested in any study abroad experience should come talk to OfSA peer advisers as early as possible. OfSA at the UI is what Perkins describes as a “full-service study abroad office” because staff and peer advisers are available resources for students from the moment they first think about the possibility of studying abroad through their graduation, as needed.

For more information about study abroad opportunities through the University of Iowa, visit http://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad.

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