[ skip to content ]


The Office of Study Abroad will sponsor its biannual Study Abroad Fair from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, in the North Mall of Webb University Center.

Highlights will include a drawing for a $1,000 Study Abroad Grant, information on scholarships available for study abroad students, information on our upcoming spring and summer break programs, as well as an opportunity to meet with both faculty who are leading spring break/summer programs and ODU exchange students who have recently studied abroad or are currently on exchange at ODU.

ODU students ventured abroad last year in record numbers - and not just barely record numbers. Participation leaped from 150 the year before to 265 in 2003-2004, a 77% increase. This dramatic rise was most apparent in short-term programs, especially those conducted over spring break 2004. During a 10-day period in March, 81 ODU students traveled to London, Berlin, Scotland and Mexico. Eight summer programs enrolled a total of 135 students.

Meanwhile, 39 ODU students studied abroad for at least a semester period. This group included Jessica Vance, a Presidential Global Scholar, who spent her entire sophomore year in Seville, Spain, on a program administered by the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE).

In addition, 10 students took up internships abroad last year, also a record number.

Steve Johnson, Study Abroad Director, attributes the dramatic increase to a jump in the amount of scholarship funding available, an increasingly sophisticated outreach by his staff to potential participants, and the dedication of ODU staff and faculty who are increasingly willing to lead programs and otherwise encourage their students to "go international."

Highlights of the past year included performance tours by ODU choir and theatre troupes, both of which performed in Scotland, the former over spring break and the latter at the annual Edinburgh Theatre Festival in August. A new graduate program in oceanography to Mexico in the spring and 14 individual graduate travel grants also boosted graduate student participation to record levels.

The benefits of study abroad are obvious to those who go abroad. A student who participated in the short-term program in Berlin noted: "The primary benefit was getting a chance to visit another culture [and to] walk through the hands of time in a city where the history is so rich." Katie Throndsen, who studied at Leicester University in the UK during spring semester, reports that "…the program was fantastic. It allowed me to experience another culture. I couldn't have asked for a better experience." Improved second language ability, greater appreciation for other cultures, greater self-confidence and self-awareness and stronger motivation for advanced study are among benefits that students typically cite following a period of study abroad.

National surveys indicate that increasing numbers of entering freshmen hope to study abroad during their college years. Study abroad, already up more than 60% over the five years prior to September 11, has resumed its climb following a brief slowdown in the months following the attacks due to interrupted travel service. This still represents a small number of students overall - perhaps 1 % nationally. ODU's participation in the past year represents about 2.5% of the full-time undergraduate enrollment on the Norfolk campus, a very high number for an urban institution with a large number of commuter, non-traditional and working students.

Opportunities for all majors are available and all students are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Johnson at sjohnson@odu.edu or 683-5378.

This article was posted on: October 4, 2004

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.