Education Abroad Grows Significantly at UW

The number of University of Wyoming students studying abroad has increased significantly in the past two years, helping achieve UW’s objective of giving students the international skills they need in an increasingly global world.

In fact, more UW students are studying abroad than ever before, and more faculty are directing courses around the world.

UW’s strategic plan, “Breaking Through: 2017-2022,” called for increasing faculty and student participation in programs abroad from a baseline of 395 students and 30 faculty members in the 2016-17 academic year to 650 students and faculty in 2022. Well ahead of that target, UW Education Abroad reached 50 faculty and 618 students, for a total of 668, in the 2018-19 school year.

“By setting the ambitious target of 650 students and faculty abroad in the ‘Breaking Through’ strategic plan, the university recognized the importance of more and more students having the opportunity to study, research, intern, teach and serve across the world,” Education Abroad Director Shelley Jewell says. “Studying abroad provides our students a window into other cultures and gives them a competitive edge when job seeking or applying to graduate school.”

Top destinations include the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, Australia, Germany and Japan. Faculty-directed trips offer many options, from two to eight weeks over the J-term, spring or summer break. Faculty-directed courses include “Anthropology of Monsters in Greece,” “Business and Entrepreneurship in Luxembourg,” “International Food and Farm Culture in France” and language courses in many countries.

Senior Olivia Cole, of Cody, who’s majoring in social science and gender and women’s studies, has taken UW Alternative Break trips to San Francisco, New Mexico and Trinidad/Tobago. She also spent a London semester abroad and attended a conference in Canada.

“I’ve always had the desire to see the world,” says Cole, who’s also pursuing minors in honors and African American studies.

Her London semester as a sophomore was her first time abroad. There, she studied geology, English and art history. Cole describes her London semester as a pivotal moment in her college career.

“I learned so much about who I am and what I value,” Cole says. “I want to encourage more people to go and see the world.”

Associate Vice Provost for Global Engagement Anthony Ogden notes the Education Abroad team works hard to ensure that all students at UW are able to participate, whether that be a traditional education-abroad program or an international internship program, a global service-learning program or undergraduate research abroad.

“Education abroad is not just about seeing the world; it is really about investing in one’s education and future,” Ogden says. “When students study abroad in their chosen discipline, they are able to develop new knowledge and experience that can be ideally leveraged for later career growth and further study. Future employers look favorably at education-abroad participants who are seen as being more mature, confident and comfortable with working across cultures.”

UW also makes education abroad affordable. The university is home to the largest endowment for education-abroad funding of any land-grant public institution, thanks to the Richard B. and Lynne V. Cheney Study Abroad Scholarship Endowment.

“UW students can essentially study any topic, in most any part of the world, for most any duration of time,” Ogden says. “There is something here for every UW student.”

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