Variety of study abroad locations around the world empower students to be competitive in an increasingly global society
In a just released “Open Doors Report” published by the Institute of International Education (IIE), among master’s level institutions Belmont University ranked No. 5 nationally for participation in short term programs and landed at No. 9 for overall study abroad participation (combined short term, semester, and year-long programs). With a Vision 2020 emphasis on increasing participation in the University’s study abroad programs, Belmont’s numbers have risen dramatically in recent years, from 467 students in 2013-14 to 894 this past year.
Today’s report, which was based on study abroad numbers from 2016-17 when Belmont had 855 students participate, highlighted the growth of study abroad programs across the country as nearly 333,000 U.S. students received credit last year for study abroad, an increase of 2.3 percent over the previous year.
Dr. Mimi Barnard, associate provost for interdisciplinary studies and global education, said, “We’re thrilled to have national recognition of our success with increasing study abroad participation. At Belmont, we are committed to providing students with ways to engage and transform the world—it’s part of our institutional mission. As we have risen in the rankings over the last few years, we have also increased the number of opportunities and variety of locations, both for short-term, faculty led initiatives, as well as for semester or year-long opportunities. We are preparing students to be competitive in an increasingly more global context, and our students are able to live, work and serve in communities around the world.”
Junior religious studies major Brittain Lawrence, who studied abroad this summer on the Belmont in the Biblical World program (Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Greece), said, “My study abroad in the Biblical World allowed me to visit the places I have been reading about my entire life. Now, when I study scripture, I recognize the locations and recall my own experiences there… My study abroad experience was one I will always remember, and on my trip I formed friendships that will last for the rest of my life.”
With almost 900 students studying abroad last year, Belmont focuses on keeping up with student demand and creating new and engaging experiences. New study abroad opportunities for students in 2019 include programs in Jamaica, Norway, Prague, the Bahamas, France and Germany, among others. Nearly 950 students have already submitted applications to study abroad next year, and with deadlines in February for summer program applications, that number is expected to rise.
According to Dr. Thandi Dinani, director of global education, “Belmont’s study abroad programs continue to provide culturally enriching programs that enhance a student’s academic experience. Classrooms come to life as faculty take students to visit places where history took place. Whether visiting Nelson Mandela’s prison cell in South Africa, walking streets where Jesus walked in Israel, or learning how Galileo’s time in Italy was impacted by the Renaissance movement, students see how countries, concepts and cultures have shaped history and impact their world.”
IIE’s report is published annually in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.