Summer study abroad program breaks enrollment record

UO students at the Temple of Hercules in Amman, Jordan.

The University of Oregon is experiencing its biggest summer of study abroad enrollment in university history with 829 Ducks leaving the nest to study and intern in 34 countries on 78 different programs.

The students represent 79 majors, 67 minors and each school and college at the UO.

After all travel-based programs were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel became more available at the beginning of 2021 and allowed a limited number of students to go abroad again. Luis Ruiz, assistant director for student success and analytics at Global Education Oregon, said summer 2021 saw about 30 percent of typical enrollment.

“It is encouraging to see that summer 2022 will not just return to pre-pandemic enrollment numbers, but even exceed them,” Ruiz said.

Grace Anderson applied to study abroad before even accepting her admission to the UO. She participated in Advancing Your Academic Success: Pre-Freshman Studies in London and spent a month there before moving to campus. Now a rising sophomore, Anderson attributes her time abroad to helping prepare her for the transition to college.

“Engaging in new cultures, taking classes in person again — let alone in a whole new country — exploring the beautiful city, navigating challenges and various responsibilities, and so much more truly built a confidence in our independence that was unmatchable when it came to growth,” Anderson said. “It was the absolute best way to begin my college career, and I am so very grateful for the pre-freshman experience.”

Anderson is going abroad again this summer and chose a different style of program after finding herself fascinated by a geology class she took this year. She will spend 13 days hiking and using nature as a classroom during Exploring the Dolomites: Landscape, History, Ecology, and Literature in Northern Italy.

“I am looking forward to the new ways I am able to get out of my comfort zone and grow through this experience, and to be able to look back at how much I’ve changed and compare it to how I felt after the London experience,” Anderson said.

Exploring the Dolomites, one of 34 UO faculty-led programs, is the shortest program offered this summer, while Intensive Arabic in Amman, the capital city of Jordan, is the longest at 62 days. Arabic is one of 11 languages that students are learning, from beginner to advanced levels, this summer.

Global studies and romance languages major Savanna Schwartz got to improve her Spanish last summer and practice outside the classroom during the Spanish Language in Oviedo program. This summer Schwartz will spend eight weeks advancing her French in a workplace setting through a GlobalWorks International internship in Paris, where she will do marketing for a company that makes environmentally sustainable supplements.

“Rather than doing a language-specific program again, I chose a GlobalWorks internship program in the hopes that I would come back feeling more prepared to enter the professional world post-graduation,” Schwartz said. “I'm really thrilled about this position because it aligns with several goals of mine. I enjoy marketing and public relations and hope to one day be able to work with international companies and nonprofits.”

At the end of her internship Schwartz will return, having graduated from the UO one year early, something she is able to do after receiving multiple Spanish credits during her time in Oviedo that otherwise would have taken multiple terms to complete. She said meeting with an adviser helped her learn how going abroad could help her meet graduation requirements.

—By Kaitlyn Jimenez, University Communications