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Release: Immediate

Number of UI students studying abroad increases by 34 percent

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The number of University of Iowa students studying abroad increased by 34 percent during the last school year, according to a new report released by the Study Abroad Center at the UI Office of International Education and Services (OIES).

The report states that 406 students studied abroad during 1995-96, compared to 304 during the previous academic year. Of that number, 323 were undergraduates and 83 were graduate or professional students.

The report also indicates that approximately one in 10 current UI graduating seniors studies abroad.

"Participation in study abroad is growing nationwide as the value of an international educational experience is increasingly recognized by educators and employers," said Janis Perkins, OIES assistant director and director of the Study Abroad Center. '"The tremendous growth we are presently experiencing at the UI also can be attributed to a developing commitment on the part of the administration to remove barriers to study abroad. In addition, the Study Abroad Center staff members have been working diligently both to inform students of the options available and to develop affordable programs that are closely tied to degree requirements."

The 1995-96 numbers are the latest available, since many students participating during the current academic year may still be in the middle of their study abroad programs, or will be studying abroad this spring or summer. The report counted only those students who participated in formal study programs for which they received academic credit, and did not attempt to count students who may have traveled or worked abroad on their own, a number the Study Abroad Center believes is relatively small.

"We are delighted with this growth in numbers since it reflects a lot of hard work and creativity by our staff," said OIES Director Steve Arum." We hope to be able to find more UI faculty interested in developing imaginative study abroad programs for our students."

The more than 300 undergraduates included in the report did their studies abroad in 36 countries, with the highest concentration, 64 percent, in Western Europe. Some 17 percent studied in Latin America, 5 percent in Asia and 4 percent in Russia and Eastern Europe. All other regions combined accounted for 11 percent of undergraduates studying abroad.

Most of the undergraduates who studied abroad--80 percent--were students in the College of Liberal Arts, while 13 percent were from the College of Business Administration and 7 percent from other colleges. The departments who sent greater than 20 percent of their graduates abroad included Spanish, global studies, Russian, French, Italian, art history, Asian languages and literature, theatre arts, anthropology, German, linguistics and the department of literature, science and the arts.

More than half of the undergraduates were female, and 70 percent were Iowa residents with an average GPA of 3.15.

The 83 graduate and professional students who studied abroad did so in 20 nations. Some 43 percent studied in Western Europe, particularly in France and the United Kingdom, and 30 percent in Latin America. More than 30 percent of these students were from the College of Law, with 25 percent from the College of Medicine, 23 percent from the Graduate College, 14 percent from the College of Business Administration and 6 percent from the College of Education.

Almost half of the graduate and professional students were female, and 65 percent were Iowa residents.

OIES provides foreign student advising and educational and study abroad programming, and works to increase the cross-cultural understanding and skills of UI students, faculty and community members. About 2,000 students and scholars representing an estimated 100 countries study and work at the UI, and each year more than 400 UI students study abroad in programs and exchanges in more than 30 nations.

OIES is located in the UI International Center, which can be reached by car at the end of Ferson Ave. off Park Road in Iowa City, or by foot up the stairway from Riverside Drive.

For information on study abroad programs, call the OIES Study Abroad Center at (319) 335-0353.



(EDITORS NOTE: The following are contacts for this story --

* Janis Perkins, OIES assistant director for study abroad, (319) 335-0353

* Steve Arum, OIES director, (319) 335-0335

* Mike McNulty, associate provost for international programs, (319) 335-3565

* UI students who studied abroad in 1995-96: If you would like to get in touch with a student, call Lois Gray at OIES, (319) 335-0335.