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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Study abroad programs aid UA development

Alex Kulpinski
Alex Kulpinski / Arizona Daily Wildcat Professor Richard Miller of the University of Wisconson presents ideas to better indernational student affairs at the University of Arizona.

The department of Study Abroad and Student Exchange held an open forum Thursday afternoon with one of the two directorial candidates and the UA community.

Richard Miller, the associate director for the Center for East Asian studies at the University of Wisconsin and a candidate for the position of director of the Study Abroad and Student Exchange Programs at the UA, outlined why study abroad programs are so important as well as how the university can better develop its current programs and diversity.

Miller said the UA nationally ranks somewhere in the top 25 for international student attendance at the university, adding that there are currently less than 1000 international students here.

To increase this number, Miller said, it is not necessary to recruit students, but rather make the students that do attend from other countries feel welcome when they come to the UA. The reputation of the university serves as the main factor when it comes to recruiting, Miller added.

By making students feel more welcome to the university, he added, they will want to tell stories of their great experiences overseas and in turn the word will naturally spread about the programs the UA already has.

During his presentation, Miller gave examples of two people who represent the typical study abroad student attending the University of Wisconsin. Both students were double majors with one of their majors being a foreign language. Although these students are typical of UW, this is not the case throughout the nation.

Miller also said the top year that students study abroad is during their junior year. The second most likely is in their senior year followed by sophomore and freshman year, he said. This is a problem nationally but the way to fix it, he said, is to follow the example of how New York University expands its study abroad programs.

Miller suggested how to encourage students to start studying abroad their freshman and sophomore years instead of waiting until their final years in college. New York University, Miller said, advertises study abroad programs to students right when they get in. He said NYU has established a curriculum that allows students to take study abroad opportunities right when they enter college, and that the first two years studying at NYU could potentially be spent abroad.

Miller said this is something he thinks the UA should look into — advertising the opportunity for students to study abroad — starting their freshman year. He said he thinks it is important for students to obtain an overseas education and experience because it enhances the success of students when they return to school.

Erin Chadd, special assistant to the vice president for global initiatives at the UA, said she thinks this kind of thinking and direction of the topic of study abroad is “great.” She added that Miller’s talk was very informative and that “it was a very interesting view of study abroad’s recurring issues.”

Steve Holland, the assistant vice president for risk management at the UA said he believes study abroad education programs are very important for students.

“I’m not directly involved with international education,” Holland said, “but my understanding is that it’s (studying abroad) considered part of a well-rounded education.”

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