Penn State a national leader in International Programs

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State ranked eighth in the nation in doctorate institutions in numbers of students on study abroad in the 2007-08 academic year according to information released Monday (Nov. 16) by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The University also placed eighth in sending students on mid-length (semester) education abroad programs, 17th in sending students on short-term programs and 25th in institutions hosting international students for the academic year 2008-09.

Open Doors, published annually by IIE with funding from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, reported that nationwide the number of American students studying abroad increased by 8.5 percent in 2007-08. This latest increase builds on decades of steady growth, with four times as many U.S. students participating in study abroad in 2007-08 than in 1987-88.

"The growing interest among Penn State students in our education abroad programs is both exciting and gratifying," said Barbara Rowe, who was recently named executive director of Education Abroad at Penn State. "However, we aspire to an even greater increase in the overall percentage of students who undertake an international experience. Our goals include growth in embedded (short-term) programs as well as semester- and year-long programs -- to increase the numbers of students participating in as well as support for faculty who are developing such programs."

The University currently offers more than 180 summer, semester and full-year programs in more than 45 countries around the world. More than 60 of these programs are either specially designed, semester-length programs or are reciprocal exchange programs with an international university.

In addition to working closely with the faculty to develop new study abroad programs, increase curricular integration and establish protocols for promoting study abroad programs, Education Abroad plans to increase enrollment and diversify the participants and geographic locations in their portfolio.

The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 8 percent to an all-time high in the 2008-09 academic year, according to the Open Doors report. This is the largest percentage increase in international student enrollments since 1980-81.

International Student Advising (ISA) provides services for nearly 4,000 international students at Penn State. ISA works with international students throughout their academic careers, from admission to graduation by providing services in the areas of initial immigration documents, orientation, immigration and advising, and administration of grants and loans for international students. Social and cultural programming is offered by Global Relations and Promotion, also within the University Office of Global Programs (UOGP).

UOGP goals regarding international students at Penn State include upgrading recruitment activities so as to remain competitive in attracting the most talented students; improving services by making better use of technology; and enhancing international students' overall positive experience at Penn State, to be achieved through a focus on programming and by partnering with academic departments to ensure student success.

For more information on the Open Doors 2009 report, visit http://www.opendoors.iienetwork.org online. For more about both Education Abroad and services for international students at Penn State, visit the University Office of Global Programs Web site at http://www.global.psu.edu online.

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Last Updated November 17, 2009