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Students accepted to study abroad programs for 2013

Nicole McAlee | Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In a few months’ time, many Notre Dame students will disperse to locations as far-flung as London, Hong Kong and Perth through the University’s diverse study abroad opportunities. 

Kathleen Opel, director of international studies, said this year the Office of International Studies (OIS) received 1,250 applications for programs from 904 unique applicants, most of whom are currently sophomores. She said applicants could apply for a first- and a second-choice program.

“[The number of applications we received] was around what we usually get but just slightly lower than it was last year,” Opel said.  

OIS notified sophomores of their acceptance to an international program Feb. 8 and gave them one week to confirm their participation. 

Opel said the acceptance rate for all study abroad programs was between 80 and 81 percent. Because of the competitive nature of some programs, she said not all students were placed in their first-choice program.

“In [some] cases, we had great applicants where we only had a certain number of beds,” Opel said. “Oxford is a great example  We only have room for seven students. … And therefore, even if we have 24 great applicants who meet all of our criteria, there are only seven spaces. That happens in a number of our programs.” 

Students can choose from 40 programs in 20 countries, Opel said. Some locations, such as Dublin and Hong Kong, host multiple programs.

“London, Dublin, and Perth are the three most popular programs,” Opel said.  “There are also popular programs in Toledo, Spain and Rome, Italy, as well as smaller programs such as those in Puebla, Mexico; Nagoya, Japan and Dakar, Senegal.” For the second year in a row, Notre Dame ranks ninth among American institutions of higher learning in the percentage of students participating in a study abroad program, Opel said. This ranking was released as part of a report by the Institute for International Education (IIE), which monitors study abroad and international education opportunities for students. 

“[IIE waits] one year after they tabulate it, and then they announce it the next year. So we are actually seeing the results this year from our study abroad period from 2010 to 2011, I believe,” Opel said. 

Opel said studying abroad can be formative personally and professionally. She said it can broaden students’ perspectives and teach them both about the world and about themselves.

“The kinds of things that you learn, if you embrace studying abroad, are really important in your future career,” Opel said. “Employers are looking for someone with good communication skills, with adaptability, someone who has some grit and determination. And one of the things that studying abroad does for you is that it builds all of those sorts of skills.”