Taylor has scored a high national ranking in this year’s “Open Doors Survey.”
Taylor ranked fifth nationally for total number of study abroad students, even when competing with much larger universities such as New York University and Texas A&M University. They have been awarded second place for the number of students who experienced a short-term trip among baccalaureate colleges and placed fourth among top 40 schools for the percentage of students who participated in a study abroad program.
A press release from Taylor describes the survey as “associated with the U.S. Department of State that measures study abroad and service-learning trips from colleges and universities in the United States to international destinations.” The Institute of International Education published these findings.
“I think a huge factor that plays into that is just the role of tradition,” said Jeff Miller, assistant director of Off-Campus Programs. “Traveling, missions, learning about the world and people around the world has always been a huge part of Taylor and who we are."
He attributed most of the program’s growth and success to how engaged faculty are with program development. Miller said he would describe the faculty as always willing to grow in understanding and to encourage intercultural learning in the Taylor community.
Taylor’s international engagement continues to grow as well.
Many of the existing programs, such as the semester to China, have developed in order to offer previously nonexistent opportunities that will specifically serve students. More engagement is wanted by Miller in the Middle East, along with students learning Arabic. It needs to be sustainable for students and the university though, so those options are still explored.
Sophomore Liz Yeitier spent her 2019 fall semester in Ireland. She said she studying abroad helped her learn and offered many benefits. She especially appreciated how being in a new environment got her out of her normal routine. While she previously described herself as someone who was tied to planning and a schedule, she felt like the experience of being in such a different place was eye-opening.
“Studying abroad definitely gave me a lot of room for personal growth,” Yeiter said.
She also was practical about not spending time online and experiencing a new culture while she was there for a limited amount of time. Instead, she explored the area she was in, built relationships with people outside of the program and fell in love with the natural beauty of Greystones, where the program is based.
Yeiter started her trip by journaling the experiences of her travels. However, part of the way through, she realized that this wasn’t a vacation, and her location became a part of the person she was becoming.
“This isn't just a trip,” Yeiter said. “This is me living my life.”