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The Global Classroom

The Global ClassroomAtthe forefront of a growing national trend, Tufts continues togain national recognition for its emphasis on studying abroad.Medford/Somerville,Mass. [10-20-04] 

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [10.20.04] At more and more colleges and universities, international is in. According to reports the number of U.S. college students studying abroad has more than doubled over the last decade. With more than 400 students studying outside the United States each year, Tufts is at the forefront of the trend. According to students and administrators, a semester or two abroad can be a very important part of a college education.

"Our world is getting smaller and smaller and to find the best solutions for our future, we have to be able to draw on the widest possible range of ideas," Sheila Bayne, the director of study abroad at Tufts, told the Boston Herald in a recent interview. "We have to be able to access the brainpower of people who think differently than we do."

Students seem to agree that studying abroad provides a deeper understanding for a culture than can ever be attained in the classroom.

"It's very important for people of all countries around the world, but especially the USA, given its current position as a global superpower, to participate in a study abroad or some other form of exchange program," Daphne LaBua, a Tufts junior studying abroad in Paris, told The Boston Globe.

Most students say their time abroad offered a unique opportunity to learn first hand about another area of the world.

"It exceeded my expectations," Folake Eniola -- a Tufts senior and community health major who spent last spring in Hong Kong -- told the Herald. "I learned more about the Asian community than I ever did here."

Over the past decade, Tufts has increased its study abroad offerings to keep up with the demand. When Bayne began working at Tufts in 1989, the University offered five programs, all based in Europe. Today, Tufts sponsors 10 different semester or year-long programs located in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, according to the Herald. The university also has a campus in Talloires, France, which offers a program every summer.

In addition to the University's 10 programs, students are permitted to participate in the approved overseas programs of other colleges.

Tufts' diverse study abroad offerings clinched the university a spot on the recent 2005 Kaplan/Newsweek "America's 25 Hot Schools" list. The guide highlighted schools in different categories and pronounced Tufts the "hot school for study abroad."

"Tufts likes to portray an international spirit and therefore there are a lot of options for going abroad and it is encouraged," a Tufts graduate told Kaplan/Newsweek.

Bayne seemed to agree.

"Tufts likes students who like going abroad," she told Kaplan/Newsweek.

Although it is primarily undergraduates who participate in traditional study abroad programs, Tufts' distinction in the international experience does not end at graduation. The university is also a leader in Fulbright scholarships. Over the last six years, Tufts graduates have won 70 of the esteemed grants to study or work in diverse fields and locations across the globe. Among schools of its size (with fewer than 5,000 students), Tufts is also a leader in students joining the Peace Corps after graduating.

The Fletcher School is an additional way for graduates to pursue a global experience, according to Kaplan/Newsweek.

The guide reported that "for graduates who find their calling in working overseas, there's Tufts' famed Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy just down the street."

 

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