Australia, Ireland programs maintain strong student numbers
A surprising 66 students signed up to study abroad in the fall 2015 semester and acceptance letters have begun to appear in P.O. Boxes.
Angela Cant, Associate Director of Study Away, said she was surprised by the numbers.
“There was a lot of interest,” Cant said. “Given that Concordia’s enrollment is significantly down, we’ve had great numbers.”
Compared to previous years, study abroad enrollment may be up, but this isn’t always the case. It goes up and down every semester. Generally, study abroad enrollment is higher in the spring but this year proves different.
Cant said students often choose when to study abroad based on different commitments: sports, homecoming, the Christmas Concert, etc. Generally, the Spring semester holds fewer of these events, so students take the opportunity to go abroad.
Though some programs attract more popularity, the numbers always fluctuate.
“It’s a bit random,” Cant said. “Normally our strong programs are strong all of the time. University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia and National University of Ireland, Galway have always been our biggest programs.”
For fall 2015, seven students signed up for the Australia program and nine signed up for the program in Galway. Other trips such as “Social Justice, Peace, and Development: A Semester in India” accrued nine students and University of Glasgow, Scotland with five students enrolled.
The trip to Glasgow, Scotland was recently added in 2014 but has become just as popular as long-time programs.
“We’re always looking at new programs,” Cant said.
Cant said students are interested in study abroad for many reasons and receive encouragement from faculty, parents, and peers.
“The big thing that makes a difference is hearing stories from other students,” Cant said.
Cant said that when students hear about trips from their peers, it sparks their interest. A few years ago, there were a lot of exchange students from Galway at Concordia, which bumped up the number of Concordia students that decided to study away in Galway.
Elise Woodwick will be studying away during fall 2015 at Temple University, Tokyo, Japan. The Spring after, she will again go abroad to the United International College, Zhuhai, China and plans to get an internship there during the summer as well. She got interested in studying abroad during high school.
“When I was in high school, I took Japanese so I was really hoping I could study in japan part of my time at college,” Woodwick said. “In college I started Chinese so I wanted to go there, too.”
Woodwick said she loved Japanese culture. In high school, she took a 2-3 week exploration trip to Japan, which interested her even more.
“Everything came to life,” Woodwick said.
Rose Reinert will be studying abroad at Universidad de las Américas, Mexico City, Mexico during fall 2015. Dr. Philip Lemaster encouraged her to look into the new psychology program in Mexico.
“It worked perfectly for both of my majors,” Reinert said.
Reinert, like Woodwick, had the opportunity to travel to Spain in high school, which made her interest in studying abroad even greater.
“I love to travel, so any opportunity to do so is worth taking,” Reinert said. “If you can fit in studying abroad, you definitely should do it. Its so worth it.”