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International Week

Posted: 12/04/2009

Where in the world are Skidmore’s students?

Each year, Skidmore students take off for a wide range of study-abroad experiences: They marvel at ancient hillside cities in Italy, perch in Australian groves, celebrate the plains of Spain and more, all the while completing courses and programs in foreign universities, rubbing elbows with peers from other cultures and communities, and absorbing the subtle lessons in learning and life that come with cultural and intellectual immersion in a time and place different from your own.

During 2007-08, Skidmore sent 315 students abroad on long-term programs (a semester or longer), buttressing the College’s Strategic Plan’s call for 60 percent of each graduating class to study abroad for at least one semester during their undergraduate career. And Skidmore’s study-abroad numbers earned recognition this fall from the Institute of International Education (IIE). The institute’s “Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange” listed colleges and universities with sizeable numbers of students who participate in semester or longer programs in a different country. Skidmore’s placement on the list “indicates ongoing success in our ability to encourage students to undertake a significant study-abroad experience,” according to Cori Filson, director of Skidmore’s Office of Off-Campus Study & Exchanges.

Skidmore has essentially met its “60 percent” study-abroad goal, Filson reports, with between 55 and 60 percent of students in each of the past three graduating classes participating in a study-abroad experience (more than 60 percent for the class of 2007). She believes this success is due to OCSE’s efforts to raise awareness among students, early in their college careers, that with careful planning, they can meet the requirements of their majors by completing classes in Saratoga Springs and the country of their choice.

How does a student choose where in the world to study? To help them decide, OCSE annually hosts “International Education Week,” a national event supported by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. Held this year Nov. 16-20, the week raises awareness of international options for studying, and shares information about global issues. Among the highlights: the annual Latino Banquet hosted by Raices, celebrating Latino Heritage Month with a formal dinner, live music from an Afro-Cuban band, and keynote speaker Evelyn Mosquea ’99, now a teacher and innovative ESL administrator at her former high school. Veena Chandra of the Skidmore music faculty performed classical devotional songs and Indian classical music on sitar, and the Skidaiko Japanese Drumming Club presented “Stories from Japan,” a performance of four taiko pieces from Osaka, Japan.

Information-gathering opportunities included a Study Abroad Fair and individual sessions for Skidmore’s own programs in Beijing, Spain, London, and Paris; the School for International Training presented additional off-campus study program options. Nuts-and-bolts offerings included a Get-a-Passport Drive, an advising session on study abroad as a career building-block, a session on how to apply for Fulbright grants, and a student Davis Projects for Peace Presentation.

This fall, as part of International Education Week, OCSE hosted the Global Visions Photo Contest. The office received more than 140 photos in one of two categories, People and Places, from 29 different countries. Some of those photos are featured in this Portfolio, along with images from International Education Week events.