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Public Affairs


More SFSU students go international this year

January 20, 2004

Photo of student Breana Wheeler in GreeceA total of 190 SFSU students -- eager to explore different cultures and teach the world about the United States -- are studying overseas this year. This marks a 15.8 percent increase over last year, when 160 students packed their bags for foreign countries.

SFSU ranks ninth nationwide among master's degree institutions for the number of students studying abroad, according to the most recent data released by the Institute of International Education. In addition, SFSU ranks second among the 23 campuses in the California State University system for students studying abroad.

The top countries attracting students this year are: the United Kingdom (41 students), Japan (28), France (26), Italy (19), and the Netherlands (17). Japan has the largest increase, with nearly triple the number of students studying there this year. According to My Yarabinec, coordinator for study abroad and international exchange programs, this increase is due to a growing popularity of Japanese language and literature studies among students.

Students of color comprise nearly a third of all SFSU students studying abroad this year, about three times the national average as reported by the Institute of International Education.

"We are delighted that more San Francisco State students are choosing to study abroad and hope that even more will do so in years to come," Yarabinec said. "Their experiences overseas enrich their lives and educations in a myriad of ways that will benefit them forever. The California and U.S. economy is also enriched by having members with a global perspective in an increasingly interconnected global economy."

Students are able to study overseas through two state-supported programs, the SFSU Bilateral Exchanges and CSU International Programs. There are 66 SFSU students participating in the CSU International Programs, the official overseas study program of the statewide system, in 2003-04. The CSU International Programs enable hundreds of students to pursue their studies abroad each year at 33 affiliated universities in 17 countries.

The SFSU Bilateral Exchanges program, which allows students to study abroad for one semester or more, has 124 participants in 2003-04. This program allows students to earn credit toward their degrees while studying at one of 24 associated universities in 14 countries.

Through both programs, students pay the same tuition and fees as if they were attending SFSU. They are not charged overseas tuition, administrative costs or other fees.

Breana Wheeler, a 24-year-old majoring in political science and geography, attended University of Bradford in England last year. Her experiences in its Peace Studies Department provided her with a strong link between her two majors and new ideas that will help her reach her goal of becoming an environmental lobbyist.

"Study abroad gave me a new perspective based on different values and mindsets," said the Tahoe City native, who returned to SFSU in the fall. "It gave me the opportunity to go outside the box, if you will, and incorporate fresh ideas into reasons for changing to sustainable development."

Matt Lopez, a junior majoring in Japanese language and literature, will study at Oita University in Japan for one year beginning in April. His career goals include becoming a translator and teaching Japanese at the high school or college level.

"I have always been interested in other cultures," the 23-year-old Castro Valley native said. "Since I didn't join the Army to see the world, I thought studying abroad would be the next best thing."

For more information on study-abroad programs, visit the SFSU Study Abroad Web site.

-- Matt Itelson


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Last modified January 20, 2004, by the Office of Public Affairs