DU Students Take Their Love of Learning Abroad
More than 700 students are studying around the world this fall
It’s an opportunity few undergraduate students at the University of Denver pass up: the chance to study abroad as a junior or senior. About 70 percent of students who come through DU will spend at least one semester studying in another country. One of the biggest reasons for such high student participation is the Cherrington Global Scholars initiative.
The initiative pays for the airfare and visa expenses for all students who meet three main criteria, among others: They must have at least a 3.0 GPA, be in good academic standing and have earned at least 90 credits. The final requirement means most students are juniors when they study abroad.
DU offers students about 150 different programs around the world. Some of the options are specialized and focused around an area of study. Other programs offer a wide array of courses where students can learn in English while studying in a foreign environment. The goal is to find the best program to meet individual needs.
“Our job is to listen to students, ask some guiding questions, get them to think beyond just location,” says Denise Cope, director of the Office of International Education. “We are looking at what are their academic goals for studying abroad and which program might be the best fit for that academic goal.”
Last academic year, nearly 1,500 DU students and faculty traveled overseas through the study abroad program and different faculty-led trips. Already this fall, about 750 students are studying abroad; nearly 60 percent of them are in Europe.
Safety is always a top priority when anyone from the University travels overseas. DU’s Department of Enterprise Risk Management requires all students, faculty and staff to register their travel in DU Passport, which allows the University to know where they are going. Everyone is also encouraged to register all additional trips they make while studying abroad.
“While students might be based in a host city, they might go travel somewhere for spring break or for a vacation,” says Courtney Niebrzydowski, an international travel risk analyst. “If they are not registered in DU Passport, we don’t know. So, in order to better support travelers, we ask them to put in the dates and the locations they are traveling to, that way we can better support them.”
Using the information in DU Passport, the University can cross-reference travel information with different safety threats around the world. However, this is rarely the greatest threat students face while traveling overseas. “Statistically, the biggest issues are not related to terrorism,” Cope says. “The biggest issues are related to traffic accidents and alcohol-related incidents.”
DU’s approach to study abroad accounts for why it regularly earns top ratings for one of the best programs in the country. The University ranked eighth for “Most Popular Study Abroad Program” according to Princeton Review. Thanks to the Cherrington Global Scholars program, DU’s student participation in study abroad ranks in the top five nationally.
“DU started this program in 2003,” Cope says. “It was really visionary, and I think it has created a culture here around studying abroad.”