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Ohio State sees 31% increase in students studying abroad

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Ohio State students are studying abroad more than many other schools, according to a recent survey.

OSU ranked No. 7 nationally for the total number of students studying abroad, according to the 2014 Open Doors Report, an annual survey published by the Institute of International Education.

The Institute of International Education is a New York City-based nonprofit specializing in international student exchange and foreign affairs, according to its website.

OSU had 2,255 students participate in a study abroad program in 2012-13, said William Brustein, vice provost for global strategies and international affairs.

“We went from being No. 25 in the nation in total number of students studying abroad to No. 7 in just one year,” he said. “No other school in the country can match that kind of success.”

The 31 percent increase in study abroad participation can be linked to short-term opportunities made available during the May session, Brustein said.

Joel Meyer, a fourth-year in business operations management and logistics management, participated in a study abroad program to London during the 2013 May session.

“There are a lot of things that really define a person’s perspective, and I believe without immersing yourself in new and exciting cultures, you’re missing out on a profound piece of human experience,” Meyer said.

Meyer is from Russia, Ohio — a town with a population of less than 700 people. He said studying abroad introduced him to both similarities and differences in other cultures that have helped him make friends at OSU and abroad, widen his perspective and gain future career opportunities.

“I have a job lined up for after my graduation and although I can’t confirm it, I’m convinced my international experience is what set me apart and made that job possibility a reality,” he said.

Students can meet with advisers in the Office of International Affairs to plan a study abroad program specific to their needs.

Shelley Diewald, a fifth-year student in mechanical engineering, participated in a six-week study abroad program in Dublin organized by OSU and Arcadia University.

“Arcadia and Ohio State made us feel very comfortable and taken care of,” Diewald said. “They make sure everyone is safe, financially supported and comfortable before, during and after the program.”

Diewald said her study abroad experience taught her independence above all else, from emarking on a solo flight across the ocean to joining a gym in Dublin.

“There really isn’t anything negative that I can say about my trip. You gain so much life experience that you can’t get anywhere else,” she said.

Other Big Ten universities also ranked in the top 10 in total number of students studying abroad, including University of Minnesota at No. 4, Michigan State University at No. 5, University of Michigan at No. 6, University of Wisconsin at No. 9 and Indiana University at No. 10, according to the 2014 Open Doors Report.

Even though they made it in the top 10, the Office of International Affairs plans to make improvements to climb higher on the list, Brustein said.

Plans to increase the number of students participating in study abroad opportunities include developing educational experiences that are relevant to students in various fields at both an undergraduate and graduate level and keeping cost affordable for students, Brustein said.

“We couldn’t be happier to go from 25 to seven, but we don’t want to stop at seven,” Brustein said. “We want to be No. 1 in the United States, and we will get there.”

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