Center for Global Education Finds Study Abroad Remains a Popular Option

Posted: July 9, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Christopher Anzalone

Despite turmoil in some parts of the world, studying abroad has remained a popular option for students, even after Sept. 11, 2001, the Center for Global Education (CGE) has found. “Right after [the attacks], we experienced a decrease in study abroad students, but that summer we actually had a record-high number of study abroad participants. Students still wanted to travel and did so,” says Tanith Fowler Corsi, CGE assistant director.

Fowler Corsi attributes the continued popularity of study abroad to the fact the world is becoming more connected. “There is more emphasis on getting a global education,” she says. CGE sends approximately 500-700 students abroad each academic year. The majority of these students attend programs in Western Europe, though Fowler Corsi notes that Australia has become an increasingly popular option in recent years.

Safaa Nhairy, CGE’s outreach coordinator and program associate who is also an international student from Morocco, says, “[Studying abroad] is certainly an invaluable experience. Students get to learn about a new culture, meet the people from that culture, and practice the language of that culture. In addition to all that, they receive academic credits for the experience.”

CGE, which organizes and runs study abroad programs during the summer, winter, and spring academic breaks to a variety of locations, is also responsible for approving and assisting students who wish to pursue studies internationally in programs that CGE is not involved in. “All George Mason students studying abroad must be registered through CGE. Students have the option of attending a non-CGE study abroad program if they so wish, but they still go through us, because we register them and transfer back their credits,” says Fowler Corsi.

Although its primary focus is to serve the George Mason community, CGE programs in all three periods are open to both George Mason students and nonstudents, says Fowler Corsi. “We get a lot of nonstudents attending our spring tours.” Generally, non-George Mason students who wish to earn credit in CGE programs where it is available have to initiate the process through their home institutions. CGE programs are also open to the general public.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, CGE has worked even harder to ensure the safety and security of program participants. “We follow U.S. State Department travel advisories and register our groups with the U.S. embassies overseas,” says Fowler Corsi. “We don’t send students to locations where it is not recommended for U.S. citizens to travel.” As a result, in recent years, planned trips to Israel and the Palestinian Territories and the People’s Republic of China have been cancelled because of safety concerns.

In addition to these functions, CGE also serves as host for international visitors at George Mason and maintains a depository of all agreements signed between George Mason and international educational institutions.

For more information about CGE programs, see the web site.

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