Study abroad program takes off

by Emely Navarro, Staff Writer

San Diego State was recently ranked No. 22 in the nation for its study abroad program, according to the Institute for International Education’s new Open Doors Report. This new ranking also establishes SDSU as one of only three California universities that were ranked in the top 25 nationally for sending students abroad.

“We always look to maintain quality in our programs and it is reflected in the number of students going abroad,” International Student Center Director Noah Hansen said. “Our numbers are growing and have been growing, and I think that is a reflection of meeting the needs of the students.”

The university provides students with many options for studying abroad and has 335 educational study abroad programs in 52 different countries. SDSU also requires students in 34 academic programs to study abroad.

Hansen said the university encourages every student to study abroad and has made it a requirement for some majors such as nursing and hospitality, because the university feels that students who graduate will be much better served if they have some direct contact with another country through an approved program.

Going abroad teaches students coping and problem-solving skills that will be useful for the rest of their lives, but may not be attained if they stay in the U.S, he said.

“Going abroad really gives students the opportunity to broaden their perspectives and open their mind to different ways of thinking, but it also enables our students to take different loads of course work and to have learning experiences that are sometimes not available here at SDSU,” Hansen said.

He also said employers realize the value of a student who can think outside the box and has different cultural experiences.

“We live in a globalized society where information with people flows back and forth, and if students are going to work and live in that sort of world they need to be equipped with an experience of what it is like in another country and we hope with the learning of the languages as well,” Assistant Vice President of International Programs Alan Sweedler said.

In order to increase the number of students going abroad and educate them about the options available, the International Studies Center created the Be International campaign. This campaign encourages more engagement with students looking to study abroad by providing awareness and a starting point, SDSU Communications Director Kim Calderon said.

“When we started the Be International campaign it really started with trying to solve a problem which was the fact that there are tons of international opportunities around campus but it was difficult to find where some of those opportunities were because there was no physical standing point,” Calderon said.

She explained that SDSU’s new Be International kiosk would be the solution to this, it to get the information out to students.

“(The kiosk) is meant to be a physical signpost for students,” Calderon said. “The kiosk is meant to look like an extension of SDSU.”

The kiosk will move around campus and provide information about the international programs offered as well as to answer questions about studying abroad.

Students who are interested in studying abroad but don’t think they can afford it can apply for an Associated Students’ scholarship to study abroad or visit the International Student Center website, where more scholarship opportunities are listed.