November 21, 2013

Cornell Abroad Highlighted in ‘Open Doors’ Report

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Cornell has recently been ranked 24th among American universities for sending the most undergraduate students abroad, according to a list released Nov. 12.

The ranking comes from an “Open Doors” report, conducted annually by the Institute for International Education and in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Ranked universities sent the largest number of undergraduates abroad for more than eight weeks at a time, according to the Institute for International Education’s website. The report was conducted from 2011-12.

The news comes a year after President David Skorton laid out a vision for the University to expand its study abroad programs in his March 2012 white paper, “Bringing Cornell to the World and the World to Cornell.”

One of the main goals that Skorton advocates in the paper is to raise the percentage of Cornell students who have had “significant international experiences” — or have studied abroad for more than eight weeks — from its current 27 percent to at least 50 percent.

“In my 2007 commencement address, I called on Cornell and other U.S. universities to take international involvement even further,” Skorton said in the paper.

According to the “Open Doors” report, more American university students are studying abroad overall, with 2011-12 representing an all-time high of U.S. students studying abroad for credit.

Cornell in particular has seen an increase in students studying abroad, with the number of graduate and undergraduate students who went abroad and earned credit from Cornell increasing from 1,478 during the 2010-11 to 1,773 in 2011-12, The Sun previously reported.

Aside from an increase in students studying abroad, Skorton also called for the “reorganization of the Abroad office,” which he began with the appointment of its new director, Marina Markot.

Markot said she is looking to expand and improve upon Cornell Abroad.

“My goal is to open up Cornell Abroad to many different possibilities and create partnerships with colleges in their initiatives,” Markot said in a recent interview with The Sun. “That is what I hope to see happen in general: a web of interesting new initiatives coming up throughout the University and Cornell Abroad helping make them happen.”

According to the report, Cornell’s ranking shows only the number of students that study abroad a year. However, according to Fredrik Logevall, vice provost for international affairs, this number does not reflect the percentage of the student body that studies abroad.

“Vis-a-vis our peer institutions, our numbers are not as good in percentage terms, in part because we don’t offer as many summer opportunities as most of them do,” Logevall said in a University press release.

Skorton echoed this statement in his white paper, saying that many schools send a majority of their students abroad.

“At least 24 institutions (most of them small) send more than 70 percent of their students abroad at some point during their academic careers,” he said.

The Institue for International Education, founded in 1919, works to bring together the international community with the cooperation of various foundations, governments, NGOs, corporations and higher learning institutions.