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UW-Eau Claire Ranks No. 10 Nationally in Number of Students Who Study Abroad

RELEASED: Nov. 17, 2005

UW-Eau Claire students in Potsdam, GermanyEAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire sends more students abroad than any other master's level institution in Wisconsin and it ranks 10th nationally among all master's schools in the number of students who study abroad, according to the 2005 Open Doors Report of the Institute for International Education.

"More and more of our students are recognizing the value of a meaningful international experience," said Karl Markgraf, director of the Center for International Education at UW-Eau Claire. "Nearly a quarter of our students now study abroad during their undergraduate career. The growing interest in these programs speaks to an increased student awareness of the importance of an international experience as an integral component of their liberal arts education."

The 2005 Open Doors Report indicates that 452 UW-Eau Claire students studied abroad during the 2003-04 academic year. That's almost 100 more students than any other master's level institution in Wisconsin, according to the report.

"Our reputation for offering exceptional study abroad programs is why some students choose to attend to UW-Eau Claire," Markgraf said. "Many of our students have had an international experience before they even get to college and they're ready for more. The quality and diversity of our programs is very appealing to them."

The university currently offers study abroad programs in nearly 30 countries throughout the world, Markgraf said.

"Every new program we've introduced — from South Korea to South Africa to Chile — has been well received by our students," Markgraf said. "We constantly strive to improve the quality and geographic diversity of international programs."

Markgraf said his office also has found that more students are studying abroad earlier in their college careers. Historically, most UW-Eau Claire students studied abroad during their junior or senior year. But in recent years, 40 percent of the students going abroad are sophomores who applied during their freshman year, he said.

An increasing number of UW-Eau Claire students also participate in more than one international program, Markgraf said, noting that every year five to 10 students enroll in a second or more study abroad program. Students interested in a particular language may spend multiple semesters in one region but in different countries, he said, while others opt to study in different parts of the world to gain new knowledge and experiences.

UW-Eau Claire's long-standing commitment to placing students in countries for months rather than weeks was recognized earlier this year by the Institute of International Education, Markgraf said, noting that in May the organization's Open Doors Report ranked the university No. 2 nationally among master's level institutions sending students to study abroad for at least a semester.

"Our programs allow students to live in countries long enough to learn about the country and culture," Markgraf said. "We do not offer two-week trips that more closely resemble tourism, because you can't really learn about another culture in such a short amount of time. Instead, we integrate students into the local culture so they leave with a much deeper understanding of it."

For more information about the 2005 Open Doors Report or UW-Eau Claire's international programs, contact Markgraf at (715) 836-4411 or markgraf@uwec.edu.

-30-

JB

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