The world is your classroom
Studying abroad in Spain changed junior Jean Osberger’s life. “I loved the cultural immersion of living with a Spanish family and speaking Spanish every day,” she says. “I have never been more out of my comfort zone nor experienced anything so unique and exciting. It was my most meaningful college experience.”
Her studies in Spain led Jean to double major in Spanish and humanistic studies, which studies culture. “Spanish integrated perfectly with my humanistic studies major because what better way to study a culture than through the native language?” she says. “And I know my Spanish language skills will help me in my future career.”
Like Jean, about 50 percent of Saint Mary’s students take advantage of the college’s excellent and abundant study abroad programs by the time they graduate. This impressive percentage has earned national recognition in the 2011 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange that ranks Saint Mary’s:
• 7th among all U.S. baccalaureate institutions for the number of undergraduate students studying abroad for an academic year (two semesters)
• 20th among U.S. baccalaureate institutions in total undergraduate study abroad participation
• 29th among all U.S. institutions in total undergraduate study abroad participation
The findings are based on 2009–2010 data and reported by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
The Open Doors recognition is the second in recent months for the college’s study abroad efforts. In September, U.S. News & World Report (which uses a slightly different metric) ranked Saint Mary’s among the top 100 institutions in its list “Best Colleges: Most students studying abroad.” The college is ranked at 42 after 51 percent of Saint Mary’s 2010 graduates participated in study abroad programs.
Meanwhile, the 2011–2012 academic year marks the largest number of international students on campus and the largest international enrollment in a first year class. The Class of 2015 includes students China, Kenya, Rwanda, Jordan, Canada, and Mexico. The total number of international students on campus is 34.
Increasing the college’s internationalization has been a priority for President Carol Ann Mooney. “Today’s graduates must be prepared to work and compete with colleagues from around the globe and potentially to spend some portion of their careers living outside of the United States,” she said in her strategic plan. “To prepare our students to fully participate in the emerging global community, we must expand their opportunities for international studies and further internationalize the College community and its curriculum.”