CSU Study Abroad Enrollment Hits New High

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Study abroad participation by Columbus State University students has set a new record for the second straight year, exceeding a nationwide projection.

By the end of summer, 168 Columbus State students will have experienced programs across Europe, Africa, Asia and Central and South America.
Study abroad students
The 2010-2011 total represents an 11 percent increase over 151 study abroad participants the previous year. The figures account for programs during spring break, plus the May and June-July sessions, and semester-long enrollment – up 64 percent from last year – in CSU-partner institutions abroad.
 
The CSU rate of increase nearly doubled a projected nationwide average. 
 
Based on a nationwide survey by the Institute of International Education, study abroad enrollment for U.S. students for 2010-2011 was anticipated to increase six percent from last year.

Neal McCrillis, CSU’s Mildred Miller Fort Foundation Distinguished Chair of International Education, credited the Columbus State professors who develop and direct the majority of programs attracting CSU students. 
 
“Study abroad teaching involves a tremendous amount of work in designing classes and programs and in recruiting the students,” McCrillis said. “Although the learning benefits are tremendous, students have to overcome major financial and personal challenges to participate.” 

Private funding of about $165,000 in study abroad scholarships played a major role in the participation increase, McCrillis said. That includes about $50,000 from the Spencer Scholarship fund for CSU in Oxford programs. Other funding sources exclusive to full-time CSU students are the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation, Nakai Fund for Asian Studies and Kidd-Bagley Fund, plus the Katherine and LeGrand Elebash, Campus Internationalization and CSU Honors scholarships.

McCrillis identified 14 CSU faculty-led and CSU-managed programs as successful this year. 

A first-time CSU program in Uganda has nine students, led by sociology professor Florence Wakoko-Studstill, currently studying “Culture, Health and Women's Organizations.” “It's a particular challenge to develop new study abroad programs in Africa, but CSU has succeeded, especially with the work of Dr. Wakoko,” McCrillis said.

A Costa Rica business program, also under way, has drawn the most students – 18 – under the direction of Turner College of Business and Computer Science professors John Finley and Andres Jauregui. In other “Maymester” programs, CSU students are studying Shakespeare in London, ecology in the Bahamas, biology in Botswana and art in Florence, Italy.

Earlier, a spring break trip to Berlin, Germany: “Memorializing Modern Tragedies,” drew 14 students led by professors Mariko Izumi (communication) and Carmen Skaggs (English).

Meanwhile, 11 students studied environmental issues in Ethiopia under chemistry professor Samuel Abegaz, and art professors Orion Wertz and Yuichiro Komatsu guided six students to Japan, where they experienced the March 11 earthquake tragedy. The group safely waited out the immediate aftermath in Tokyo, far from major destruction, but their flight home was delayed several days. Several weeks after returning, they exhibited their work from the trip and demonstrated Japanese cultural customs in an Illges Gallery exhibition and reception on CSU’s RiverPark campus.

Later this summer, Spanish language professor Alyce Cook will direct 11 students in Cuernevaca, Mexico for the longstanding CSU in Mexico program.

In Oxford, England, separate CSU in Oxford sessions will accommodate 18 students collectively. Professors Gary Sprayberry (history: The 1960s Youth Revolutions in England and the U.S.), Tom Dolan (political science: Islam in Europe) and Susan Hrach (English: Shakespeare’s Sisters: British Lit by Women) will direct the programs as each group resides in Columbus State’s Spencer House at the center of Oxford, England.

CSU students also will travel this summer to China, Spain, South Africa, Belgium, Germany and Ireland through other University System of Georgia programs.

The semester-long programs took CSU students to Oxford, Kingston and Edge Hill universities in England, plus Ireland’s Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Japan’s Kansai Gadai University and others. Among those students, Charlotte Walker played for the Oxford women’s ice hockey squad and Melora Slotnick landed the lead role in Edge Hill’s theatrical production of Carnival of Souls.

For more information, go to http://www.ColumbusState/cie.

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PHOTO Caption:
CSU students, from left, Nica Mendoza, Christina Cueto and Ushma Desai pose for a photo after participating in a traditional tea ceremony during the Art in Japan study abroad program in March.