SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College of Louisiana ranks #1 in the percentage of undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs among baccalaureate colleges in the United States. The Institute of International Education (IIE) partnered with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to compile the annual Open Doors Report on International Exchange Data released on November 14.
“Centenary welcomes its students as freshmen by taking them to Paris. From the start, we send the message that our campus extends from Shreveport to the world—particularly to a part of the globe that serves as one of Louisiana’s cultural and historical antecedents: France,” says Provost and Dean of the College Dr. Jenifer K. Ward. “When students return to start their fall classes, they have already had their frame of reference broadened—even before they take on the challenge of learning to live in a diverse community in their residence halls or confronting the complexity of college-level academics.”
The 2016 Open Doors report examined data from the 2014-2015 academic year. During this time period, 240 Centenary students participated in a variety of study abroad programs, including the College’s signature Centenary in Paris experience for all first-year students, immersive May Module courses, and semester-long exchanges with partner universities in Belgium, France, and Mexico.
Because Centenary in Paris is included in tuition and the College’s Passport Points program helps fund additional international travel, many Centenary students have the opportunity to study abroad more than once during their college careers. These repeat travelers helped boost Centenary’s estimated participation in study abroad to greater than 100% in the Open Doors report. Centenary’s estimated participation percentage for 2014-2015 is 189%, an impressive statistic that is 72 percentage points higher than the #2 institution, Goucher College in Baltimore.
In a news release from IIE, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State Evan Ryan addressed the need for colleges and universities to provide access to international opportunities for all students.
“We need to empower more of America’s future leaders to experience the world beyond our borders,” said Ryan. “International education helps people develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s global economy, and creates networks across borders that improve international understanding and strengthen the national security of the United States.”
Centenary’s Office of Global Engagement facilitates study abroad and global learning experiences for students with the goal of helping them become global citizens.
“Global learning can be defined as the skills, knowledge, and confidence a student acquires through multiple global experiences that open them to world cultures and events,” says Rachel Driskill, Assistant Director of Intercultural Engagement at Centenary. “It allows students to truly appreciate cultural differences and apply their knowledge as global citizens. We believe that study abroad combined with intentional global learning creates true global citizens.”
Open Doors reports that more than 313,000 U.S. students received credit for study abroad during 2014-2015, an increase of nearly three percent over the previous year. The full findings of the report are available at iie.org. More information about Centenary’s study abroad programs can be found at centenary.edu/studyabroad.