To the editor:
I appreciate the editorial written on Oct. 1 about the value of studying abroad and the range of opportunities offered at CWRU. As the director of International Education at MSASS (Mandel School of Applied Social Science) I have witnessed the positive outcomes provided to students who are able to take advantage of these opportunities. In July, 2010, a study documented the academic outcomes of study abroad across a 35-institution University System of Georgia and found that ten years later, students who study abroad had improved academic performance upon returning to their home campus, had higher graduation rates, and improved knowledge of cultural practices and context compared to students in control groups. They’ve also found that studying abroad helps, rather than hinders, academic performance of at-risk students.
The department of Bioethics [as well as] the Mandel School of Applied Social Science has offered 3 credit short term travel courses for the past seven years. Both schools are also working with several committees through the new Office of International Affairs at CWRU. This office has been developed to address the issues you raise including expanding and improving international opportunities for all students at CWRU. Short term three credit courses, service learning, and research in other countries offer opportunities for international exposure and students are able to develop cultural sensitivity, while longer programs offer more cultural immersion and increased cultural competency.
I would like to provide information about the upcoming Community Forum to be held on Friday, Oct. 22, 12:30 – 2 p.m. at the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations room 115. Information will be provided about the new Office of International Affairs at CWRU and the work being done around Study Abroad. This will also be an opportunity for the CWRU community to help shape the international planning process and develop priorities for the office. For more information you can contact the Office of International Affairs at 368-2397 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah R. Jacobson, PhD
Director, International Education Programs
Mandel School of Applied Social Science