One of the most frequently asked questions posed by a prospective student visiting a college campus these days isn’t just about what’s happening on it, but rather how far the school can send them away — to another country, another part of the world.
Denise Dimon, PhD, a veteran professor, researcher and administrator of international education at the University of San Diego, agrees. She knows what can happen when a student participates in a study abroad program and he or she is faced with something new.
“Being out of your comfort zone makes a person more creative and more responsive to change,” said Dimon, USD’s associate provost of International Affairs. “Having the ability to positively react to change and ambiguity as a part of your skill set helps prepare you for the future. I know if I’m an employer, I’d be looking to hire people who can think about the next thing, the next change. I definitely think a global perspective — and having an appreciation for it — can help.”
The latest Institute of International Education Open Doors Data report produced USD’s fifth consecutive top-three national ranking for undergraduate student study abroad participation percentage among doctorate institutions. USD ranked ahead of Notre Dame, New York University, Pepperdine, Yale, Duke, Georgetown and Stanford.
For many years, USD study abroad programs have given thousands of undergraduate students the chance to become better global citizens, explore countries, learn new cultures and languages, and to be mindful of what’s happening beyond the United States’ borders.
The university sends students each year to destinations throughout Europe as well as in Asia and Latin America. USD also has one of strongest student participation rates for the national Semester at Sea program. Furthermore, USD’s campus is only 20 miles north of the Mexico border, thus making immersion trips to Tijuana a common occurrence for campus organizations committed to community service and faith-based learning.
“One of the greatest strengths we have at our university is our international programs,” Dimon said. “Being on the border, the Pacific Rim, having all of the study abroad opportunities through the International Center and knowing that every one of our schools does something international, it’s a definite strength. It is part of our DNA.”
Study abroad application deadlines are approaching fast: Summer 2014 (Wednesday, Feb. 19), Second-Year Experience 2015 (March 6) and Fall 2014 (March 19).
— Ryan T. Blystone