seal  Purdue News

September 23, 2003

Purdue study abroad numbers keep climbing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – More students at Purdue University continue to sign up for study abroad programs to gain internship experience in Ireland, cooking experience in a French chalet or history lessons in Cuba.

The number of participants jumped a record 168 students last year, from 526 in 2001-02 to 694 to 2002-03. The more than 31 percent increase is attributed to the creation of new, innovative programs scheduled for spring break and the first summer session, said Michael Starks, marketing and publications coordinator of Programs for Study Abroad.

"With more than 200 programs in almost 50 countries, all Purdue students have the opportunity to participate in study, work or internships abroad," Starks said. "We intend to exceed our strategic goal for a 50 percent increase in the number of students who study abroad by 2006. Study abroad is an important part of the strategic plan because students need an international component during their higher education experience to be competitive in the growing global job market."

The deadline for the London internship is Feb. 1 and March 1 for summer programs. Application information can be found online.

Some of the study tours are supplemental to regular courses taught at Purdue. For example, Becky Brown, professor of French, will teach the "French Culture through Cooking" class.

"We know students can do the French grammar drills, but I want to see them refine their language skills while they learn about the culture," Brown said. "Students will spend their spring break week in a cooking school at a French chateau where they will go to the market with the chefs, learn to fold napkins and set tables, and learn about olive oil, chocolate and wine, all in French."

Starks said more students are pursuing study abroad because they can choose the shorter-term programs, such as during the first summer session. Last May, Antonio Tillis, professor of Spanish and a member of African-American studies, took 16 students to Havana and Santiago, Cuba, to learn about the African history in that country.

"Students also learned about the vibrant Asian community in Cuba," said Tillis, who will lead another group of students to Brazil this summer. "These study abroad programs provide students an opportunity to learn about what they are reading and learning in class, and for some, to learn about their own ancestry."

Chris St. Peter, a senior in the School of Technology from Providence, R.I., selected the Cuba trip because he was looking for a liberal arts experience to complement his studies in aviation administration.

"I jumped at this trip," St. Peter said. "I wanted to broaden my experiences at Purdue, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to see a culture that very few Americans have witnessed. This trip has sparked an interest for me to travel more and to see the rest of the world."

Study abroad also has expanded the number of programs that offer internships. These internships, including a new one in Rome, are offered through the Institute for International Education of Students, Starks said. This program allows liberal arts students to take courses while gaining international work experience during the semester. Management students also have the new option of gaining class credit and international experience by participating in the summer University College Dublin Internship Program.

Students can take courses in their major, minor or earn general elective credits. Some programs are designed for students in specific areas of study, while others are open to all Purdue students. Academic credit transfers back to Purdue, allowing students to fit study abroad into a four-year graduation plan. Students remain enrolled as regular Purdue students while on study abroad programs, and therefore are eligible for Purdue scholarships and financial aid. Programs for Study Abroad awards a limited number of scholarships to students who have been approved for study abroad based on need and merit.

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

Sources: Michael Starks, (765) 494-9866,

Becky Brown (765) 496-6043,

Antonio Tillis, (765) 494-9754,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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