Photo caption: The number of study abroad students at UW-Eau Claire and across the country was significantly affected by the pandemic, says Colleen Marchwick, director of the UW-Eau Claire Center for International Education.
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s participation in study abroad programs remains among the highest in the nation for master’s-level colleges and universities, according to the 2021 Open Doors Report of the Institute of International Education.
During the 2019-20 academic year, 253 students studied abroad, ranking UW-Eau Claire 21st among public and private master’s-level schools in the annual survey of international exchange activity in the U.S. sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. There are 246 schools in the master’s-level category.
UW-Eau Claire is the highest-ranked master’s level school in Wisconsin in the survey.
UW-Eau Claire was the only Wisconsin school in the master’s level category for mid-length duration (a quarter or semester) of study abroad, ranking 19th nationally with 189 students.
UW-Eau Claire has study abroad programs in more than 30 countries, with Australia, Costa Rica, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom being the most popular among Blugolds.
The number of study abroad students at UW-Eau Claire and across the country was significantly affected by the pandemic, says Colleen Marchwick, director of the UW-Eau Claire Center for International Education. UW-Eau Claire had 517 students studying abroad in the 2018-19 survey compared to the 253 during 2019-20.
“Summer represents one of the most heavily enrolled terms for study abroad, not just at UWEC, but across the United States,” Marchwick says. “Between the Center for International Education and Intercultural Immersion, we had approximately 142 students accepted and committed to summer 2020. Unfortunately, those programs were canceled due conditions brought on by the pandemic — border closures, health and safety concerns.”
Due to health and safety concerns, UW-Eau Claire did not approve any student travel abroad from summer 2020 through spring 2021, Marchwick says.
International travel slowly is returning, as this summer the Intercultural Immersion program had three students travel abroad and this fall, CIE has 11 students abroad.
“We are starting to see a re-emergence of study abroad with increasing vaccination and treatment for COVID-19,” Marchwick says. “We hope to have approximately 90 students abroad in spring 2022 and are working hard to communicate to students that study abroad is possible and valuable. One of the powerful outcomes of this weird social experiment brought on by the pandemic is the understanding of the value of human connection. As powerful as technology is, it cannot replace our need to be together in person.”
UW-Eau Claire’s College of Business and CIE has put together a video series with perspectives from alumni, students and faculty. The videos encourage students to study abroad to obtain valuable knowledge and skills that can assist their professional development.