Texas A&M University has been ranked 15th in the nation for the 2008/2009 academic calendar year in an Open Doors report of institutions offering short-term study abroad programs five places higher than for the previous year. The Open Doors report is based on a survey conducted annually and is published by the Institute of International Education (IIE), with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
One of the major reasons for the success in our national ranking for short-term programs is the number of faculty and departments who promote short-term winter break, spring break or summer programs abroad as all or part of a traditional study abroad trip or a field-based research program,noted Martyn Gunn, vice provost for academic affairs.In the same Open Doors report, Texas A&M moved up one position to 33rd in the category for the total number of students studying abroad among doctoral institutions nationwide. There are several factors that explain the increase in Texas A&M’s ratings nationally.
Opportunities abroad are critically important for our students and are an inherent part of our strategic plans for high impact educational experiences,said Gunn.These increased national rankings are an excellent affirmation of this. Praise is due to the faculty, the colleges, academic advisors, study abroad staff members and the many other support offices that assist students in gaining international experiences.Nationally, European destinations for students studying abroad continue to be the most popular, and this holds true for Texas A&M. This is in part due to the university’s Santa Chiara Study Center in Fiorentino, Italy, Gunn added. He said the Santa Chiara Study Center offers pleasant living accommodations, and presents students the opportunity to study in a variety of academic disciplines, particularly in architecture and liberal arts. Other factors that continue to draw students to European countries are language, shared heritage and safety.Texas A&M’s two other centers, in Costa Rica and Mexico, also provide unique opportunities for learning and living abroad, drawing both students and faculty to participate in programs that range from diverse field studies in tropical ecology and hydrogeology to engineering and agriculture projects and service learning options.