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“K” Rates High for Study Abroad

Kalamazoo College has again been recognized as a leader in study abroad programs for U.S. college students. According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), Kalamazoo ranks #12 among U.S. colleges that offer baccalaureate degrees in terms of the percentage of its graduates that studied abroad. IIE reports that 83.2 percent (238 out of 311) Kalamazoo graduates in 2010 had studied abroad during their “K” experience. Last year’s IIE report ranked Kalamazoo #16.

“Kalamazoo College is a pioneer in providing quality education abroad programs for students,” said Associate Provost for International Programs Joe Brockington. “We’ve been doing it for more than 50 years and continue to be a model for other colleges and universities.”

Kalamazoo operates 48 programs in 24 countries on six continents. During the past four years, an average of 51 percent of “K” students traveled to Europe, 22 percent to Austral-Asia, 16 percent to Latin America and the Caribbean, and 11 percent to Africa and the Middle East. Popular programs are in China, Ecuador, Scotland, and Thailand.

Kalamazoo’s program is distinctive, said Brockington, “because it’s integral (i.e. part of the ‘K’ curriculum), intentional (i.e. supported by learning outcomes that are assessed regularly), andintegrative (i.e. striving to connect our students with local communities abroad).”

He said Kalamazoo stands out even from other institutions because “K” students engage in long-term study abroad programs that last from one quarter to a full academic year. Many schools that send a high percentage of students abroad (including schools on the IIE list) only do so for three to four weeks in the summer.

Kalamazoo students in all majors participate on study abroad, including a majority of student athletes even if it means they miss all or part of a competitive season. Many “K” students continue their major course of study while abroad, including science and math majors.

Most students take advantage of the Fall-Winter program and reside with host families. An Integrative Cultural Research Project, or ICRP, is a required component of selected programs. Bearing an academic credit, ICRP projects place great emphasis on participation, informed by observation and more traditional research activities.

“Study abroad remains a signature element of the K-Plan, said Brockington. “And it will for years to come.”

Read more about Kalamazoo College’s study abroad program, including blogs by “K” students currently studying abroad, at www.kzoo.edu/international.

IIE is the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States. Its annual census is based on a survey of approximately 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions and draws support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Calvin College (28) and Alma College (35) are the only other baccalaureate institutions in Michigan included on the 2011 IIE report.

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