Wake Forest University ranks seventh among doctoral U.S. colleges and universities in the percentage of students studying abroad, according to the Open Doors report published today by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
According to the IIE’s methodology, 62 percent of Wake Forest undergraduates received credit for study abroad in the 2013-2014 academic year, with students spending anywhere from a few weeks to a summer to a full academic year studying in countries around the world. Wake Forest has been in the top 10 for the better part of two decades.
This year’s Open Doors report came at a very busy time for the Center for Global Programs and Studies. In light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beruit and as part of a coordinated University response, the team overseeing study abroad programs spent the weekend confirming the safety of the more than 300 Wake Forest students studying in Europe.
Close-knit community at home and abroad
“Whether you’re in Winston-Salem or the Worrell House, Wake Forest is a tight-knit community. Ensuring the safety of our students at home and abroad is our top priority,” said David Taylor, director of Global Abroad Programs.
Immediately after news of the Paris attacks broke Friday afternoon, Taylor and his colleagues reached out to the 15 students currently studying in France, six of whom are taking classes in Paris. Then they began contacting students studying across Europe, as well as partner study abroad programs, since weekend travel is very popular among students.
Luckily, Taylor’s team quickly confirmed that all students studying in France were safe, and the University let the campus community know via email and social media Friday night. Tracking down everyone visiting Paris took a little more time.
“We had a total of 19 students in Paris on Friday evening – only two of whom are taking classes there this semester,” said Taylor. “Luckily, the prevalence of mobile devices and social media have made it easier and more convenient for students studying abroad to let family and friends know that they are unharmed and in a safe location. With each reassuring email came a huge sigh of relief.”
Melody Wang, a senior studying in London, was visiting Paris on the night of the attacks. A friendly French woman welcomed her and other American tourists into her flat when the police presence prevented them from returning to their hotel.
“I thought we were on a different street while I was looking at the map that night, but when we were walking back in the morning, I saw the name of the street,” Wang told WXII-TV. “We were just so incredibly lucky.”
“The oldest allies”
In response to the terror attacks, the Office of the Chaplain welcomed the Wake Forest community to “Steps Toward Peace: A Living Vigil,” a 12-hour vigil on Hearn Plaza in the spirit of Pro Humanitate.
Chaplains of many faith and spiritual traditions were on hand to support members of the campus community as they contemplated, prayed, and kept vigil.
Members of the campus community chose from range of colorful ribbons to display as they walked around the Quad in silent thought. Upon completion of a lap, students, faculty and staff tied the ribbons into a rainbow of fabric around a peace pole just in front of Reynolda Hall at the heart of campus.
“It was such a meaningful cause and so important to send the message that we as individuals can be part of the greater good,” said Hope Peterson, a junior from Asheville, N.C.
Quentin Pruvot, an exchange student from a small town near Avignon, France, appreciated Wake Forest’s support for his home country as well as for the global-mindedness of the campus community.
“I just want to say thank you for all the support here at Wake Forest and in the U.S. in general. As President Obama said, we are the oldest allies and we will be allies for centuries. We are bound together and we are sharing the burden together,” said Pruvot.