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Media Advisory: Study Abroad: WFU brings together the best and brightest ideas

By Kim McGrath, 336.758.3209, mcgratka@wfu.edu Office of Communications and External Relations

For the fifth consecutive year, Wake Forest’s Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement (WISE) will be bringing together thought leaders from more than 150 institutions nationwide to share the latest research and information on what is working and what isn’t when it comes to preparing students for study abroad.

WISE will be held Jan. 31 – Feb 2 at the Marriott Hotel in Winston-Salem. The list of speaker biographies and a conference program are available on the WISE website. Media are welcome to attend.

In the globalized world, there is an increasing emphasis in U.S. higher education on preparing students for citizenship through study abroad. Nearly 274,000 U.S. students studied abroad in 2010-2011 and with more than 63 percent of these trips funded with personal and family funds,

two things are happening: The traditional university-hosted semester study abroad experience is declining and faculty-led study abroad trips of eight weeks or less are increasing — meaning students have less time to acclimate and learn while they in a host country.

According to the latest Open Doors report from the Institute of International Engagement, the percent of students on short-term study abroad trips has been rising — programs running eight weeks or less during the academic year jumped from 3.5 to 13.3 percent and summer programs are up from 31.4 to 37.7 percent.  Steve Duke, director of international studies at Wake Forest University says the thousands of faculty teaching abroad in short-term programs often have little to no training on how to prepare students for cross-cultural engagement. “The scope of the issue is big and the payoffs for improved preparation are high, particularly as the length of their stay in a host country is compressed,” says Duke.

Wake Forest University is taking the lead in helping address the growing need in international study: training faculty to help students get the most from their study abroad experience.

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About Wake Forest University: Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at www.wfu.edu.

 

 

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