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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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MSU study abroad program rebounding

A two-year dip in the number of Minnesota State University students choosing to study abroad appears to be rebounding.

Dan Nienaber, Mankato Free Press 11-27-2012

A two-year dip in the number of Minnesota State University students choosing to study abroad appears to be rebounding.

A recently released Institute of International Education study caught statewide attention because it showed the number of students studying abroad dropped more than 7 percent since the 2008-2009 school year. A story in the Star Tribune also noted that the num­ber of Minnesota State University students studying abroad dropped almost 40 percent from a high of 338 during the 2008-2009 school year to a seven-year low of 212 during the 2010-2011 school year.

Caryn Lindsay, MSU director of international programs, said the recession made it more difficult for students to afford the extra costs of studying overseas. However, the number of MSU students studying abroad has been going up again more recently. There were 235 MSU students who studied abroad last year and Lindsay said she expects that number to increase again this year. “The majority of students at MSU who choose to study abroad need to use financial aid,” she said. “So it’s a good thing that they were being cautious. But we’ve maintained our emphasis on informing students about this being an opportunity for them. We’re also getting faculty to promote the advantages.”

The university spent about $100,000 last year in an effort to have faculty members travel to partner universities. The goal was to build relationships that will evolve into things such as joint research projects and internships that will create more interest in studying outside the United States.

Internship opportunities and exchange programs that have been developed with partnering universities also make studying abroad more affordable, Lindsay said.

Obvious advantages are that students who study abroad show future employers they can adapt to unfamiliar surroundings and think independently, Lindsay said.

“A lot of them are doing it to differentiate themselves from the pack when it comes to future job opportunities,” she said.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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