Five questions for Jane Kucko, Director of International Sudies
More from Winter 2006
More in Campus News: Alma Matters
Topics: study abroad
Why should students study abroad?
Becoming an educated person means more than “getting through” a particular curricula. It means broadening oneself in regard to the wider world, and making an effort to understand and embrace other cultures. Students need to be prepared to live in an international community. We live in an interconnected world.
Do overseas courses “count” on transcripts?
Yes. Our students do gain academic credit for study abroad, but we like to emphasize those benefits which don’t appear on transcripts: a sense of oneself as a citizen of the world, maturity gained through problem solving and creative thinking, inner flexibility and resourcefulness, and most importantly, an appreciation of other cultures.
What does the typical student find compelling about study abroad?
Students who study abroad often come home surprised with how much they’ve learned – about themselves. Study abroad can be exhilarating and overwhelming; it can trigger homesickness as well as soul-searching. It usually prompts students to realize that they are not as knowledgeable about global politics or even about U.S. politics and history as they would like to be. Study abroad creates global and cultural awareness, but it engenders self-awareness as well.
Are fewer TCU students studying abroad since 9/11?
There has actually been an increase in the numbers of students traveling to other countries both at TCU and throughout the U.S. since 2001. Most U.S. universities, TCU included, regard international education as part of their core mission. Following 9/11, the desire to improve language and intercultural skills and the necessity of global collaboration seems even more to be a national priority.
When did the Study Abroad program begin at TCU and how has overseas study affected graduate employment?
We have records dating from 1985. Just as we want to bring TCU to the world, we also want to bring the world to TCU. We would certainly like to hear from alumni who studied abroad in the early days of the program and discover if any of those who studied abroad have turned that experience into some kind of international career. We feel certain that the experience changes students’ lives, but would love to hear about it firsthand from our alumni.
By the numbers
595 Students on a TCU-sponsored international trip
500 international students at TCU
80 countries from which international students hail
38 percent of students with international experience
30 percent of students who studied abroad for credit
1-2 percent of students who study abroad nationally
Leading destinations: England, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Scotland
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