CSB and SJU maintain No. 1 ranking in mid-term study abroad participation

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November 14, 2011

CSB and SJU students at the Scotia Game Reserve in Eastern Cape, South Africa.

For the second consecutive year, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University are ranked No. 1 nationally among baccalaureate institutions with students who participate in mid-length study abroad programs, according to Open Doors 2011, the annual report on international education published by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The two schools had 367 students study abroad in mid-length programs during the 2009-10 school year, according to the most recent data released by IIE. Mid-length duration study abroad programs are those lasting one semester, one quarter or two quarters (CSB and SJU operate under the semester system).

The 2011 report also found that CSB and SJU ranked No. 4 nationally among baccalaureate institutions for total number of study abroad students, with 573 students who studied abroad in 2009-10. CSB and SJU have been among the top six nationally in the number of students participating in international study abroad programs for the past seven years, according to the IIE.

"We are thrilled that CSB and SJU have maintained the No. 1 ranking within the Open Doors Report as it illustrates that despite economic challenges, education abroad remains an important part of the CSB and SJU educational experience," said Peggy Retka, director of the Office for Education Abroad. "Our faculty-led, semester-long program model encourages broad participation for a significant period of time. The impact of study abroad also benefits both campuses as the students and faculty return with new perspectives."  

A total number of 270,604 U.S. students studied abroad during the academic year 2009-10, an increase of 4 percent from the previous year.

Open Doors 2011 also reported that CSB and SJU ranked No. 13 among baccalaureate institutions with 270 international students for the 2010-11 school year. CSB and SJU had the highest number of international students among Minnesota schools listed in the top 40 baccalaureate institutions.

"Our international students complement our study abroad programs bringing cultural diversity and a world view that elevates our liberal arts program to global awareness and perspective," said Roger Young, director of international admission at CSB and SJU. "Two of the Benedictine values that we have always aspired to are inclusiveness and hospitality; we live them through our study abroad programs, our commitment to attracting students from all over the world and our supportive faculty and staff."

The number of international students at United States colleges and universities increased by 5 percent to 723,277 during the 2010-11 academic year, according to the report. This represents a record high number of international students in the United States.

CSB and SJU offer 17 semester-long study abroad programs in 14 countries on six continents, including the program to Kolkata, India, which began last spring. Most of the programs are almost exclusively led by CSB and SJU faculty members, which is very unusual among baccalaureate institutions. In addition, CSB and SJU sponsor dozens of short-term and service learning overseas trips, as well as internship and volunteer opportunities.

For the complete report, see www.iie.org/opendoors.