Goshen’s study abroad program included in Open Doors report

GOSHEN, Ind. – Over the past decade, the number of U.S. students studying abroad has increased by more than 150 percent. And American students increasingly seek nontraditional study abroad destinations.

These are some of the findings of the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) 2008 Open Doors report, a summary of study abroad by U.S. college and university students, which was released to the public on Nov. 17. As well, it noted that Goshen College is again one of the top schools in the country for students to study abroad.

While large institutions dominate in terms of absolute numbers of their students going abroad, many smaller institutions send a higher proportion of their students abroad. Open Doors 2008 data on study abroad participation rates show 18 institutions that reported sending more than 80 percent of their students abroad at some point during their undergraduate careers. Goshen College was ranked number 13 on that list with 82.5 percent of students studying abroad at some point in their college careers.

This list also includes: Arcadia University, Austin College, Bates College, Centre College, Colorado College, Earlham College, Elon University, Goucher College, Hartwick College, Kalamazoo College, Lee University, Rhodes College, Saint Olaf College, University of Dallas, University of Minnesota – Morris, University of Saint Thomas, and Wofford College.

Open Doors 2008 finds that American students are more frequently choosing nontraditional study abroad destinations. And about 36 percent of students studying abroad do so through semester-long programs. Since the founding of its Study-Service Term (SST) program 40 years ago in 1968, Goshen College has intentionally chosen developing countries to host students abroad for a semester.

“For 40 years, Goshen College has encouraged students to study and serve in societies that are significantly different than our own,” said Director of International Education Tom Meyers. “In the developing world our students have a direct encounter with a reality that is unlike anything that they have known or experienced in life.”

Allan E. Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education, noted that the experiences afforded through study abroad provide American students with the skills needed to live in today’s world. “International experience needs to be a component of every student’s education, equipping them for 21st century careers and for global citizenship,” said Goodman.

The report states that Europe continued to host the largest share of U.S. students (57 percent), while Latin America hosted 15 percent of all Americans studying abroad, Asia hosted 10 percent and Africa hosted 4 percent. In contrast, Goshen College has sent students to 22 different countries over the past 40 years, and currently sends students to China, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Germany, Senegal, Perú, Jamaica and Cambodia.

The Open Doors report also notes that China is now the number five leading destination of U.S. study abroad students, with a 25 percent increase over the prior year. Since 1980 though, when Goshen College became the first U.S. college to arrange an undergraduate exchange to China, 351 students have gone to the communist country through SST.

Since the first SST units went to Costa Rica, Jamaica and Guadeloupe in 1968 and began one of the country’s unique international education programs, more than 7,000 students and 230 faculty leaders have traveled through the program. The program’s uncommon combination of cultural education and service-learning remains a core part of the general education program, and has earned citations for excellence from U.S.News & World Report, Peterson’s Study Abroad and Smart Parents Guide to College, the John Templeton Foundation and American Council on Education.

For more information about Goshen’s SST program, as well as photos, journals and videos from past groups, visit  www.goshen.edu/sst/.

Editors: For more information about this release, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.