Studying abroad more important

After one year of media hype about threatened national security and strained international tensions, a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education (IIE) finds that “98 percent of the approximately 500 international education professionals responding agree that international education exchange, including study abroad, is regarded as more important or equally as important on their campuses.”

Carol Lazzeri, Associate Dean and Director of the International Education and Exchange Programs [IEEP] at the University of Miami, believes that “Sept. 11 made students realize the importance of traveling abroad, understanding cultures, and opening minds.”

The mounting popularity of international study signifies a trend toward “mobility in the world,” added Lazzeri.

The findings of the study parallel results of a similar IIE report of Oct. 2001. According to the report, it indicates that regardless of over-publicized international political and economic strife in the past 12 months, “international educational exchange continues to be seen as a critical part of the U.S. higher education experience.”

On Wed., Sept. 4, the IEEP held a welcome back party for students recently returned from abroad, students soon to leave the country, and international students currently studying at UM.

Zach Ordonez, a senior who participated in a five-week film program in Prague, expressed his appreciation of “the freedom to do whatever you want, and go where you want.”

This program, led by UM professor John Soliday, who has been to Prague for the past several summers, allows students from all universities, all majors, and all levels, with an interest in any aspect of film, to get involved with, every facet of the production of a own short film.

Students discussed their experiences living and taking courses at foreign universities. They also conveyed a greater respect for the international community after experiencing foreign travel and study.

“You realize that there’s a life outside the US,” Ordonez added, commenting on how the experience widened his perceptions of international society.

“I definitely didn’t experience as much culture shock coming from Connecticut to Miami, as I did from Miami to Australia,” said UM exchange student, Jessica.

Martin, a German exchange student, commented that the school spirit atmosphere shocked him the most about UM.

“Everyone here is so proud of their university. In Germany, no one would wear a t-shirt of their own school to class,” Martin said.

The IIE survey indicates that study abroad is more popular than ever before. Applications and enrollments from international students are steady or rising, despite some declines from Islamic countries. The survey provided a snapshot of what impact educators are seeing on their campuses as the new academic year begins.

The UM application deadline for Spring 2003 study abroad is October 1st. However, an earlier deadline of Sept. 15th applies for Japan. To study abroad for the Summer of 2003, applications are due April 1, and for Fall 2003, March 1 (Feb. 1 for Japan).

Some UM courses abroad, taught and led by UM faculty, may have earlier deadlines; for clarification, please visit or contact the professor directly.

Programs are offered for semester, summer, or short-term study, and many programs offer courses in English.