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Back to School Marks Return to In-Person Study Abroad Programs

As students return to classrooms this fall, U.S. colleges and universities are seeing in-person study abroad programs rebound. A survey by the International Educational Exchange reports 83% of institutions noted an increase in study abroad participation for the 2022 academic year compared to the previous year, according to a recent press release.

With the reopening of international travel, the pent-up demand for education travel is skyrocketing. WorldStrides, the global leader in study abroad, educational travel and experiential learning, is seeing this momentum for in-person learning and travel across its wide range of accredited study abroad experiences. Through its faculty-led programs, semester study abroad, summer study abroad, and even college prep programs for high-schoolers, WorldStrides enables students to view themselves, and the world, in new ways that will provide them with the life skills needed for future success.

“Students are eager to get back out into the world and experience for themselves the life-changing encounters that are inevitable during a study abroad program,” said Sara Easler, Director, International Programs & Study Abroad, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Haslam College of Business. “More than ever, we are seeing students gravitate toward real connection with new places and people after being deprived of these experiences. Given geopolitical events of the last few years, it is critically important for students to have their ideas of their world and of their own culture challenged so they can develop a global perspective.”

Back-to-school season dominated by the opportunity to study abroad

Most U.S. higher education institutions surveyed by the International Education Exchange reported a return to in-person teaching and learning. Experiential learning provides students with a global passport for life, giving them the opportunity to gain perspective into how people of different backgrounds see the world. Founded by teachers, WorldStrides has more than 50 years of experience creating life-changing moments for students and teachers through immersive education experiences of all shapes and sizes.

“WorldStrides created a rich, impactful one-week experience for 400 Boston University students who had missed their abroad opportunities in the previous two years because of the pandemic,” said Natalie McKnight, Dean, College of General Studies, Boston University.  “Our group was large, but WorldStrides managed to coordinate our activities and meals so that the numbers were never overwhelming, and everyone—students, faculty and staff (myself included!) had a really wonderful experience.”

Europe, Costa Rica among top destinations

As educational travel returns, popular destinations for WorldStrides students include its programs traveling to France, Greece, Italy, Spain, London, Prague as well as Costa Rica. WorldStrides aims to provide a wide range of affordable education abroad opportunities with a commitment to exceptional support for all participants and their institutions.

“There is a resounding eagerness to emerge from the pandemic and explore the world, and we’re seeing this momentum in our programs this year,” said Bob Gogel, President and CEO, WorldStrides. “Seeing and experiencing the world as we live it in 3-D can truly be a life-changing moment for a student. Our programs encourage participants to explore the world beyond their comfort zone, benefit from the effects of immersive learning and become global citizens.”

In addition to Boston University and the University of Tennessee Knoxville, WorldStrides offers study abroad experiences with a number of university partners, including New York University, London School of Economics, University of Georgia, and University of Colorado Boulder, among others.

“The impact of studying abroad on students is powerful: in evaluation comments, students regularly say that their visits to museums, galleries and plays have helped them better remember the subjects they are studying and apply what they’ve learned beyond the classroom,” said Boston University’s McKnight.  “Students often comment that their study abroad experience was completely transformative and has given them a whole new perspective on themselves and the world around them.  ‘I will never be the same,’ wrote one student this year, ‘and for that, I am grateful.’”

“Our students are returning to campus energized and full of enthusiasm for what they’ve gained and learned through study abroad,” said UT Knoxville’s Easler. “It’s evident in their interactions in our classrooms, with other students, and in their passionate advocacy to peers to go experience a study abroad program for themselves.”

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