Campus: CSU Sonoma -- December 17, 2001

Dramatic Increase In SSU Students At Foreign Universities

Students at Sonoma State University are getting a chance in greater numbers than ever to live in a foreign country, not as a tourist, but as a scholar. That is because they are eradicating the mistaken impression that study abroad programs are only for the very rich or the extraordinarily bright.

Sonoma State has seen a dramatic increase of 86% in students studying abroad this year as compared to last year, from 35 to 65 students. "We have also been the highest sending CSU campus per capita since approximately '94 or '95," says Jan Beaulyn, Associate Director for International Services on campus.

The majority of students in the 2001-2002 academic year are studying through the CSU International Program in Spain and the United Kingdom. Other popular destinations include Mexico, Sweden, and Italy.

Students who participate in the international program at SSU study their major from an entirely new perspective in a country of their choice, says Beaulyn. Additionally, they study their own culture from the point of view of their host country, she says.

The courses they take are often courses they would never encounter in the U.S. In most cases, students return after their year abroad, fluent in a second language and, Beaulyn says, participating in a program like this sets students apart from the crowd on a resume or in a graduate school application.

"Students come back to the U.S. with a more developed sense of themselves and their interactions in the world," she says. In fact, the International Program was created to help students develop intercultural communication skills and international understanding.

In order to cultivate interest in the program, organizers at Sonoma State, inform freshman of the program so that students can begin planning their year abroad early.

"Once students see the academic requirements and the actual costs they are always heartened and encouraged to join the competition," says Beaulyn.

In addition, organizers hold recruitment, application and interview workshops, which take some of the fear and intimidation out of the application process and assure that each student gets plenty of one-on-one attention, she noted.


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