Abigail Roberts | The Echo
This week, Open Doors released their 2016-2017 report with Taylor ranking among top five across all three of their categories: total number of students studying abroad, percent of students studying abroad and overall sum of students involved in short term study abroad programs.
In the last five years, Taylor has remained consistently in the top five to 10 schools for study abroad according to Open Doors, a data resource on U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit.
"Historically, Taylor has been a place that focuses on taking learning outside the walls of the classroom,"Jim Garringer, director of media relations, said. "Study abroad is a part of our student's well-rounded experience and carries a profound impact."
According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), universities have seen a 2.3 percent increase in students studying abroad in the past year. In 1990, the U.S. saw 75,000 students studying abroad for credit; this past year the number hit 332,727. This means approximately one in every 10 U.S. students study abroad during their undergraduate years.
Lessons from Abroad is an organization that teaches students how to integrate their study abroad experience upon returning to their university.
"We live in a time where empathy is more important than it has ever been," vice president for Lessons from Abroad, Angela Manginelli said. "Study abroad provides the opportunity for students to figure out what they care about and how they can make a difference."
In the last four years, an average of 470 students a year have studied abroad through either Taylor's short-term or semester-long programs.
According to Jeff Miller, assistant director of off-campus programs, numbers are great, but at the same time, what Taylor values most is improving the quality of their programs.
"The area that is really holding us up there are the short-term programs," Miller said.
As a national trend, semester-long programs have gone down while short-term trips are on the rise. According to the IIE, student's participation in study abroad programs of eight weeks or less has increased by 250 percent in the last ten years.
Whether short-term or long-term, it is impossible to deny the impact study abroad experiences have on undergraduate students.
"Study abroad expands your understanding of your own culture and helps you be more culturally competent in diverse environments and in the workplace," junior Meghann Rauser said.
Taylor hopes to continue increasing the quality of their study abroad programming, but are not expecting any major changes in the near future.