CSU, Chico News

Study Abroad Program Expands, Receives Recognition

Date: 12-16-2014

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico’s Study Abroad program continues to expand and receive recognition for the quality of its program and its student participants.

Fourteen CSU, Chico students have received prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships this year totaling $56,000 to assist with their study abroad program costs. Civil engineering senior Emma Hesz and sociology junior Nicollette Moore are the latest recipients, and they will be going to Sweden and Thailand, respectively, in spring 2015.

Hesz and Moore are among 700 undergraduates across the United States to receive the competitive grant for the spring from among 2,600 students who applied.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Gilman Scholarship aims to diversify the students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Recipients must be receiving a federal Pell Grant, and preference is given to students in nontraditional study-abroad countries, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds and students with disabilities.

Jennifer Gruber, coordinator of CSU, Chico’s Study Abroad and International Exchange program, said the University will send approximately 400 students abroad to 27 countries around the world during the 2014-15 academic year.

“This year, more Chico State students are studying abroad than ever before, a 23 percent increase in participation over last year,” said Gruber. “It’s wonderful that so many of our students are receiving this national scholarship to help fund their study abroad program. They should be very proud of themselves.”

CSU, Chico students who have already received Gilman Scholarships this year are international relations junior Sierra Ashmead, interior design senior Kam Cheung, anthropology junior Nicole Jacobson, sociology junior Daone Lee, graphic design and Asian studies junior Stacey Lo, bilingual liberal studies junior Jessica Moreno, nutrition and food science junior Rachel Rutherford, history junior Allison Saechao, psychology senior Chi Thao, business management senior Carl Thompson, criminal justice junior Sayer Turcotte and nutrition and food science sophomore Christy Walowit.

Earlier this year, the national Institute of International Education (IIE) ranked the CSU, Chico study abroad program third in the nation among master’s-granting institutions for number of long-term (yearlong) participants. The University has ranked second or third in the nation for six years running in this IIE category. CSU, Chico placed 76 students in a yearlong study abroad program in 2012-13, trailing only San Francisco State and Suffolk University in Boston.

A full academic year is considered superior in study abroad programs because students gain significantly more when they go beyond a one-semester experience. Duration of study abroad experiences is therefore considered an indication of a program’s quality.

In addition, CSU, Chico was ranked second by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) for the number of students it sent abroad in the 2013-14 academic year. USAC is a nonprofit consortium of 33 U.S. universities that hosts study abroad programs in 25 countries. Students from more than 800 universities have attended USAC programs in its 30-year history.