The Office of Study Abroad has seen a sharp increase in students vying to study abroad over the past five years, pushing the University to establish new programs in increasingly diverse nations.
About 1,500 GW students chose to study abroad last year, an increase of about 5 to 7 percent in less than a decade.
Europe has consistently been the most popular destination for GW students abroad, with 392 students studying there this semester. Due to an increased demand in previously unpopular areas, officials in the study abroad office said GW will be expanding its sponsored programs to new countries including Australia, Bolivia and Botswana.
Director of Study Abroad Robert Hallworth attributed the increase of participants studying overseas to the University’s efforts in giving students of all disciplines the opportunity to study in another country.
“The University has been very supportive in meeting the advising demand,” Hallworth said, referring to the opportunity for students to transfer credits easily from the foreign institution back to GW.
Citing Latin America, South Africa and the Middle East, Hallworth said more students are interested in visiting more unique and distant locations. The GW Chile program has enrolled the highest number of students since its implementation in 2006, with 13 students participating this semester.
University President Steven Knapp visited one of GW’s exotic partner institutions this summer at the Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. The curriculum of the school attracts many international affairs students from the University.
Hallworth said previously overlooked European programs in countries like Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic have also seen greater student interest. Still, he said London and Paris are the most popular destinations.
“Our GW Paris Business program is always very popular,” Hallworth said. “We also have partnerships with several colleges at the University of Oxford and there is quite a bit of competition for these spots.”
Junior Maria Villaquiran, currently studying in Paris, chose the option for the rigorous academic nature of the business courses as well as the interaction with a new culture and language.
“Studying abroad makes you better understand the need for cooperation and cultural understanding in the classroom and the business world alike,” she said.
A new GW-run program in Italy starting this spring, as well as an exchange program with the University of Sydney, are the OSA’s most recent additions to destinations from which students can choose.
“We will inaugurate our partner program with Kent State University in Florence where business students will be able to take up to three GW business courses in Italy,” Hallworth said.