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UK Education Abroad Participation Jumps 24 Percent

The number of University of Kentucky students exploring the international dimension of their disciplines by studying abroad increased by 24 percent this past year — eight times the national average.

"Our growth is massive, and even more significant when compared to the roughly 3 percent growth the rest of the nation is experiencing," said Anthony Ogden, executive director of education abroad and exchanges at UK.

The increasing number of students participating in Education Abroad programming is due in part to Ogden and his staff’s efforts to understand the goals of every academic department on campus.

"Many departments are interested in using Education Abroad programming to expand their curriculum,” Ogden said. “For instance, the English department does not currently offer a course on James Joyce and would like to find one abroad; other departments need language courses during specific times of the year. Several other departments have also shown interest in enrolling their students in intern and research abroad opportunities so as to enable their students to develop international networks."

Integrating Education Abroad’s (EA) portfolio into UK’s curriculum is a top priority for Ogden and his team.

"EA enrollment is growing because we are working with academic departments to support and enhance their international education goals through curriculum integration," said Ogden.

To integrate EA’s programming, Ogden and his team have developed Major Advising Pages (MAP), which help students select programs that ideally align with their major. These EA programs integrate into the students' degree programs, and do not delay the time to degree completion.

"By the end of this current year we will have a MAP for every single department at UK that wants one," Ogden said. "And many of the MAPS are now supported by new 'Pathways' for each UK academic department."

Pathways are four-year, enhanced academic plans that indicate which semester or summer term would be most ideal to pursue specific coursework abroad in a student's chosen discipline. This also helps incoming freshmen and high school students understand how an EA program will align with their major coursework and allow them to plan accordingly.

"Because of EA’s efforts to work with faculty and academic programs to incorporate international programming into existing curricula, it's becoming easier for students to envision participating in an education abroad program that truly complements their program of study," said Beth Barnes, interim assistant provost for internationalization. "I know that the students I meet with are more inclined to seriously consider education abroad while at UK.  That's a real change, and wonderful to see."

For more information about UK Education Abroad, visit http://www.uky.edu/international/educationabroad