University of Rochester

University of Rochester Study Abroad Hits 10-Year High

December 14, 2006

Interest Grows in Spanish-Speaking Countries, UK Internships

The number of University of Rochester undergraduates who study abroad has hit a 10-year high, with more than 130 students going out of the country this spring. They'll join another eight students already abroad on full-year programs.

Jacqueline Levine, assistant dean and director for study abroad, said that the number of Rochester undergraduates seeking international education opportunities has continued to rise. Nationally this is also true. More American undergraduates are going abroad, according to the Institute of International Education's Open Doors report.

The majority of University students choose to explore Western Europe, and this spring there will be an especially strong presence in Spain and Latin America. In fact, about 19 percent, or 38 students, will be studying in Spanish-speaking countries. Spain, Barcelona in particular, takes the lead as the most popular destination, but other countries include Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.

Students often choose programs that fulfill both personal interests and academic goals. For instance, the majors of students studying in Spanish-speaking countries this spring range from linguistics to biomedical engineeringóbut those students are equally drawn to learn Spanish history, art and politics, for example.

"Study abroad programming has been very responsive to the changing needs and interests of undergraduates," Levine said. "There's a recognition that while many students lack the foreign language skills to enroll in universities overseas, they have the intellectual curiosity to explore other cultures."

The semester-long programs in London, Berlin, Bonn, Brussels, Paris, and Madrid that combine eight-credit internships with coursework throughout the semester are also very popular. Students are given the opportunity to study, live, and work in a European capital city. The College has always encouraged academic credit for internships, and these allow students to gain valuable work experience in law, politics, finance, the arts, health sciences and medical research. Domestic political experience, for example, can be enlightening to a future lawmaker; however, few opportunities can compare with a semester working as an intern to a Member of the European Parliament in Brussels, or a Member of Parliament in London.