As the school year begins to come to a close, planning for the upcoming fall is in full swing. For many students— especially sophomores— this means preparing to leave for a study abroad program.
According to Joseph Brockington, Associate Provost for International Programs, The Center for International Programs (CIP) received roughly 225 study abroad applications for the 2015-2016 school year. This number is greater than it was in both 2014-2015 and 2013-2014, a change that was anticipated because of the large size of this year’s sophomore class.
Brockington noted that the CIP will not know how the Class of 2016’s final study abroad numbers compare to other classes for several years, as some students choose to study abroad as sophomores or seniors. It is also likely that numbers will go down between now and departure, with a typical post-deposit “melt” falling at up to 5 percent of participating students.
Despite this year’s growth, study abroad numbers have been steadily dropping over the past 5 years. Brockington attributes this shift to changes in the overall student body— particularly the growing number of international students attending K. This decline is not concerning to Brockington, though, who is enthusiastic about the growth in international student numbers and noted that “In general, things look very positive for the programs around the world.”
The regional distribution of students for 2015-2016 will not see much change in comparison to past years, with 61 percent of study abroad participants headed to programs in Europe, compared to 58 percent in 2013-2014, according to the CIP’s Annual Report. Programs in Asia are the next most populated for the upcoming year at 15 percent, and South American programs stand in third at 10 percent.
Although Ebola concerns led to the suspension of the Senegal program for the 2014-2015 school year, the program has re-opened and students are planning to travel there in the fall.
“We were able to place about 98% of the students into programs of their first choosing,” Brockington said. “There was a small second-choice list, consisting mostly of students who were not admitted to their original choices because of not meeting grade point average requirements.”
“What we want to do here in the International Programs office is make study abroad available to every student who wants to go somewhere,” Brockington said. “We want to direct people to resources available to them.” He also encourages students who are planning for study abroad next year to attend the CIP workshops and to speak with past participants about what to expect while abroad.