Education abroad programs growing at Penn State

June 22, 2009

University Park, Pa. — Penn State’s study abroad programs are having unprecedented success in sending students on international experiences. In 2008-09, more than 2,500 Penn State students University-wide took part, up from 2,100 in 2006-07. In the last year alone, the number has increased by nearly 17 percent.
One reason for the growth of the programs, which are administered by the Education Abroad unit of the University Office of Global Programs, is the increasing popularity of “embedded” study abroad programs. An embedded program is an international component to a course taught on campus - often a trip taken over spring break or at the end of the semester - where course subject matter is expanded or put into practice with a hands-on experience in another country.
A study tour in conjunction with a residentially-taught course can be offered for additional credit or as a required component of the course. The faculty-led international travel portion is usually limited to one to three weeks. Two major advantages of such programs, in comparison to more traditional semester and year-long experiences, are lower cost and reduced time commitment.
While this statistic has been tracked only for the last three years at Penn State, for each of those years, students on embedded programs account for about one third of the total number of University students studying abroad. According to “Open Doors,” a report on international educational exchange produced annually by the Institute of International Education, 55.4 percent of U.S. students studying abroad in 2006-07 took part in programs lasting eight weeks or less.
For more statistics on Penn State students studying abroad, visit the Education Abroad Web site here; for more national data, visit the Institute of International Education Web site at

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Last Updated July 22, 2009