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As Study Abroad Bounces Back, DU Looks to Expand International Education Opportunities

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Emma Atkinson

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With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, study abroad programs around the world took a hit during the 2020-21 academic year. But as countries began to reopen their borders to international travelers in 2021 and 2022, the University of Denver saw its number of students studying abroad begin to rebound.

New data from the Institute of International Education Open Doors study shows that short-term study abroad programs, in particular, are gaining popularity across the country. Open Doors data shows that short-term study abroad increased by 30% in 2021-22, and it is estimated that this number will rise to almost 70% of all study abroad being short-term in the future.

In addition to its many term-length study abroad opportunities, DU offers a variety of short-term and interterm international education programs. For the first time this summer, students will be able to take summer courses via programs in Tokyo, Oxford and Costa Rica, among other exciting locales.

Uttiyo Raychaudhuri, vice provost for internationalization, says these short-term travel opportunities are crucial to making study abroad accessible to all students.

“Students who are unable to participate in term-length educational abroad opportunities because of family responsibilities, athletic training or other barriers are still able to get a global immersive experience,” he says.

Since the pandemic, the number of DU students going abroad has steadily rebounded. In 2021-22, 383 DU students studied abroad during term-length, faculty-directed and short-term programs, while in 2022-23, that number doubled. This year, more than 700 DU students are predicted to participate in term-length study abroad courses.

DU student Dylan MacGillivray studied in Glasgow, Scotland, in the fall of 2022. He says his time at the University of Glasgow allowed him to discover the potential global impact of his finance degree program.

“In terms of my career, my study abroad experience gave me the opportunity to learn key cross cultural communication skills which are crucial in our globalized world,” MacGillivray says. “Without study abroad, I don’t think I would have become the independent, dedicated and curious person I am today, and I will carry the skills and experiences I had abroad with me for the rest of my life.”

DU students’ return to global education is an important aspect of the University’s 4D Experience, Raychaudhuri says.

“In keeping with the University of Denver's endeavor of providing four dimensions of endless opportunities and an exceptional educational experience in the classroom and beyond, the Office of Internationalization and the Office of International Education (OIE) are energized at the outlook on the multi-dimensional opportunities that education abroad provides,” he says.

In addition to the several new programs being offered this summer, the Office of Internationalization is working to provide recently returned students with a new way to commemorate and reflect upon their valuable time spent abroad. Students are already required to take a global citizenship course before they leave for international education programs—this new course, INTZ-2503 (Learning to Return: Moving Toward an Impact for Public Good), would bookend their travel and allow them to connect their learnings from abroad to the rest of their internationalization coursework at DU and even to their future careers.