Student Zeal for Study Abroad Affirms K’s Excellence

Study abroad student attending a festival in Germany
Kalamazoo College had 249 students at international sites like this one in
Germany in 2019-20, putting it 32nd overall among baccalaureate colleges
in the Open Doors Report, which ranks higher-education institutions
for study abroad participation.

An annual report released in November from the Institute of International Education (IIE) places Kalamazoo College among the top higher-education institutions in the country for study abroad opportunities based on student participation.

According to the Open Doors Report—which analyzes more than 1,800 institutions including doctoral universities, master’s colleges and universities, baccalaureate colleges, associate’s colleges and special-focus institutions—K had 249 students at international sites in 2019-20, putting it 32nd overall among baccalaureate colleges. K was the only Michigan institution to make the top-40 list in the category despite the College’s 2020 pause in study abroad with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Students often cite study abroad opportunities as one of the big reasons why they attend K,” Center for International Programs (CIP) Executive Director Margaret Wiedenhoeft said. “A distinction like this reflects that. We’re proud we give our students a chance to broaden their view of the world in an advantageous and transformative experience.”

IIE shares the Open Doors Report yearly through the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The organization, founded in 1919, is a private, not-for-profit leader in the global exchange of people and ideas as it creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors in collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors. Those programs include the Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the Department of State.

Combined efforts from K’s faculty and the CIP, along with the availability of international partners, have allowed study abroad to restart this fall at K with about 50 seniors in addition to the regular batch of juniors. In a normal academic year, K students can choose from 56 study abroad programs of varying lengths and emphases in 29 countries on six continents over three, six or nine months. The ventures allow students to challenge their assumptions about themselves and other cultures in a rigorous experiential education environment.

“The pandemic, despite its challenges, has only amplified K’s commitment to global experiences,” Wiedenhoeft said. “Students have remained determined to go abroad, and faculty and staff have shown a lot of flexibility and dedication to making that happen. When new students arrive at K and visit the CIP, they should know we can do our best to help them work toward their goals of studying abroad.”