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ND ranks fifth in study abroad participation

Meg Handelman | Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The opportunity to spend a semester of college taking classes in a foreign country, visiting new places and forming strong relationships with other students to many seems too good to pass up, and Notre Dame students are taking advantage of study abroad opportunities at higher rates than ever before.

According to the Open Doors report released by the Institute of International Education (IIE), Notre Dame ranks fifth nationwide in percentage of undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs among U.S. doctoral and research institutions. The story focused on the 2011 to 2012 academic year.

The United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and China ranked as the top five destinations for American students, and the IIE reported a steady increase in students pursuing academic semesters in foreign countries over the past decade.

According to the report, 65.9 percent of Notre Dame students participate in study abroad, a 6.2 percent increase from 2012. Last year, the University ranked ninth in the survey.

The Notre Dame International website states that the mission of International Studies is “to enable international learning and research experiences that enhance the academic, intercultural and spiritual formation of our students; enrich their global and cultural awareness and help to develop engaged citizens in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.”

Junior Kate Friedli said she chose to study abroad in the United Kingdom during the past summer for a variety of reasons.

“I think more and more people are going abroad for two reasons,” she said. “First, it’s incredibly fun. Second, you have the opportunity to learn things you wouldn’t in a normal, domestic class.”

Friedli said her favorite part of the experience was forming friendships with the other Notre Dame students in her program.

“What I found most rewarding about studying abroad was the people,” Friedli said. “The people from Notre Dame who I went abroad to London with will be my lifelong friends, and my interactions with true Londoners were very rewarding and fun.”

Junior Sara Reyes also said studying abroad offered an opportunity to branch out and meet Notre Dame students she has yet to interact with on campus.

“Studying abroad is the perfect medium to get out of your comfort zone,” Reyes said. “It was a great experience for me because I met a lot of Notre Dame students that I may never have had the pleasure of being friends with had I not met them during my time abroad.”

Junior Katharine Maheras said she valued the opportunity to experience new cultures with other Notre Dame students who share a similar background to hers.
“I not only got to have a new cultural experience but also was able to strengthen friendships with Notre Dame students through doing so,” Maheras said.

Junior Kevin McMannis said by offering study abroad programs over the summer, Notre Dame International allows even more students to take advantage of the opportunity to study in a foreign country.

“The summer abroad let me experience new and different parts of my Notre Dame and college career without missing a semester on this amazing campus,” he said.

“I got to branch out of my dorm, live with six guys I didn’t know before and meet other amazing people.”

Living in a metropolitan city and absorbing the culture were highlights of the summer program, McMannis said.

“London’s city life and culture was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had so far, and I am super blessed to have been able to spend it with my college friends, new and old,” he said.

 Notre Dame boasts more than 40 international study programs in more than 20 nations, including Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Russia, Senegal, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Uganda and the U.K., along with a domestic program in Washington, D.C.

Contact Meg Handelman at mhandelm@nd.edu