CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Iowa City IA 52242
Embargoed until Monday, December 8
More UI students study abroad, slightly fewer international students at
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The number of University of Iowa students spending a semester
or an academic year studying overseas continued to rise last year, putting
the UI ahead of the average increase in study abroad nationwide. At the same
time, there has been a sight decrease in the number of international students
studying at the UI.
A new report from the UI Office for Study Abroad shows that 469 UI students
studied in foreign countries during the 1996-1997 academic year, compared
to 406 the previous year, a 15 percent increase. Of that number, 359 were
undergraduates and 110 were graduate or professional students. Undergraduates
studied in 43 different countries, with the highest concentration -- 62 percent
-- in Western Europe. About 16 percent studied in Latin America, 11 percent
in Oceania, and 4 percent in Asia, with all other regions combined making
up the remaining 7 percent.
This diversity reflects a national trend toward more variety in study abroad
destinations. The national figures are compiled each year by the Institute
of International Education and released in its annual "Open Doors"
report. This year's report is being released Monday, Dec. 8. Highlights of
this year's report will be available then on the IIE Web site www.iie.org/opendoors/
The most recent national figures on study abroad in the Institute's 1997
report show a 6 percent increase nationwide. These figures represent the 1995-96
academic year, the same year in which the UI saw a 34 percent increase in
students studying abroad.
The Open Doors report also indicates that the number of international students
studying in the U.S. rose slightly in academic year 1996-97. The increase
of 0.9 percent continues a seven-year national trend of slow growth.
At the UI the number of international students decreased slightly over the
last several years. In academic 1996-97, there were 1,669 international students
studying at the UI, compared with 1,673 in 1995-96, and 1,739 in 1994-95.
Gary Althen, director of the UI Office for International Students and Scholars
says the reasons for the decrease are "many and varied." He said
many universities have seen decreases in international students over the last
several years and that there are no simple explanations for the changes from
year to year.
In the last 10 years the number of UI students studying abroad has increased
by 94 percent. Janis Perkins, director of the UI Office for Study Abroad,
says that jump reflects a major institutional effort to make international
study accessible to all UI students.
"Students who have international experience have a distinct advantage
in today's global economy, so we have tried to make sure that no one misses
an opportunity because they think studying abroad isn't feasible for them,"
Perkins said. "Our office has worked hard both to inform students of
the options available and to develop affordable programs that are closely
tied to degree requirements."
Most of the undergraduates studying abroad -- 79 percent -- came from the
College of Liberal Arts, while 11 percent were from the College of Business
Administration and 10 percent were from other colleges. Of the 110 graduate
and professional students who studied abroad last year, 39 percent were from
the College of Law, 18 percent were from the College of Medicine, 25 percent
were from one of the 13 departments in the Graduate College, 10 percent were
from the College of Business Administration, 5 percent were from the College
of Education, and 3 percent were from the College of Dentistry.
Departments sending greater than 25 percent of their graduates abroad include
global studies (100 percent); literature, science, and the arts (100 percent);
Spanish (94 percent); French (90 percent); Asian languages and literature
(52 percent); linguistics (38 percent); theatre arts (37 percent); Russian
(33 percent); anthropology (32 percent); and art & art history (29 percent).
The UI report counts only those students who participated in formal study
programs for which they received academic credit. It does not attempt to count
all UI students who traveled, worked or conducted research abroad last year.
(EDITORS NOTE: The UI Office for Study Abroad can provide specific breakdowns
of study abroad numbers in a variety of categories. Please contact Janis Perkins
at (319) 335-0353 or Lois Gray (319) 335-2026 to request those figures and/or
accompanying graphics. Also, several students who studied abroad last academic
year are available to comment on their experiences. Weekend interviews can
be arranged if necessary through the Office for Study Abroad. Gary Althen
(319) 335-0335 is available to comment on the decline in international students.)