OSU is topping the state for foreign exchange students, yet dropping their International Degree program. Technically the degree program has been suspended and is currently under review, though there is some worry it might slip through the cracks.
Vice Provost of International Programs Mark Hoffman has declared that concerns have been raised and he believes students’ interests have changed since the program’s inception in 1992. However, the true nature of these concerns and the program review remain ambiguous.
The International program was unique in that it allowed students to specialize their education. The program is dual-degree, meaning a student’s original major sets the tone of his or her thesis work and studies while abroad. The program culminated in original research and the development of a thesis, a huge break for an undergraduate student.
Interestingly, according to research by the Institute of International Education (IIE), US student interest in study abroad as well as their ability to participate have only increased over the last seven years. In fact, the number of US out-of-country students increased by 44,000 from 2008 to 2009 to a grand total of 304,467 during the 2013-’14 school year.
Oregon was ranked 20th for number of international students in state by a 2015 IIE survey. By the end of 2014, Corvallis was home to 4,135 international students, the largest population in Oregon. The University of Oregon was close behind with 4,027 students, while Portland State housed a meager 2,492. The state total rose 7.9% to a whopping 14,422 students. Unfortunately we fall short in fostering the desire to reach out to other cultures the same way.
While OSU still offers a number of travel abroad programs, the International Degree program offered an immersive opportunity for students to really dig into international work. International communication and understanding is important for everyone, besides Kim Jong-un. Lest we become more like him, we must hope that OSU figures out the best way to encourage real international education for its students.
By Anthony Vitale