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Pepperdine’s Study Abroad Programs Place Fifth in a Major National Survey
Pepperdine University recently placed fifth in the nation among the top doctoral/research institutions for undergraduates participating in study abroad programs, according to the latest survey by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
The IIE’s annual report “Open Doors 2004,” released in November, estimates that 53.5 percent of Pepperdine’s undergraduates studied abroad during the 2002-2003 academic year. Pepperdine is the only West Coast institution in the top 20 and finished ahead of other prestigious schools like Notre Dame, Duke University, George Washington University and Cornell. Top honors in the survey went to Wake Forest University in Salem, North Carolina. Georgetown University, Dartmouth College and the University of St. Thomas rounded out the top five.
The dean of International Programs, William Phillips, is proud of the recognition Pepperdine continues to receive in terms of excellence in international education.
"For many years now, Pepperdine has distinguished itself for the high quality that we build into our study abroad programs," said Phillips. "The fact that, as a percentage, so many of our students are taking advantage of opportunities to study abroad is a testament to the programs' success. The global world we live in makes study abroad more of an imperative now than ever before."
The IIE is the leading non-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States. Founded in 1919, the organization seeks to promote excellence in international educational exchange and training. Research for the report is funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Pepperdine's acclaimed residential international programs began in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1963, and have expanded to include London, England; Florence, Italy; Lyon, France; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. A new program was launched in Hong Kong this year. Popular special interest summer programs have also been offered in Africa, Honduras, Russia, Spain, and Scotland and other countries.
Graduates of the international programs stay connected through reunions organized by the Seaver/George Pepperdine College Alumni Office to help keep their many memories alive. With help from this office, the Freunde von Heidelberg program coordinates class reunions in Germany and the United States, and raises funds for the Heidelberg program. Improvements are being made to enhance the beauty of Moore Haus, the student residence, which will celebrate its centennial in 2006.
Seaver alumna Lauren Waldvogel studied in Heidelberg during her sophomore year and established Freunde von Heidelberg while working in University Advancement after she graduated. In addition to scholarships, her goal was to raise $75,000 to refurbish the common areas of the house.
“I started running four-day reunions for alumni on their 10 and 20 year anniversary dates. They stay at Moore Haus and we take them to the restaurants and places they liked to go to when they were students,” says Waldvogel. “We found alumni who had never given to Pepperdine before but felt compelled to give for the Heidelberg program because of their experience studying abroad.”
The renovations should be completed this spring. Waldvogel says working to restore the beauty of the Heidelberg residence has been the greatest gift she could have received. “The program blessed me so much as a student that I wanted to give something back,” she says. Waldvogel is currently Pepperdine’s director of Insurance and Risk Management.
All of Pepperdine's international programs are a serious adventure in study and scholarship. A variety of courses are offered at each location allowing students to arrange a full academic schedule and progress toward graduating on time. Classes are taught by visiting University faculty members from the Malibu campus, by Pepperdine University faculty members who reside in the host country and by a group of well-qualified, distinguished local professors specially selected to teach in the program. The curriculum is designed so that students can complete most of their general education requirements while enrolled.
Since 1982, approximately 10,000 students have discovered the beauty of Europe, immersed themselves in another culture, challenged their thinking and formed lifelong friendships through Pepperdine’s international offerings. Studying abroad provides students with a unique opportunity to gain an academic, personal, and spiritual understanding of other cultures, institutions, and languages. The international programs also develop a heightened global awareness among Seaver College students and faculty. Like Lauren Waldvogel, upon graduation, many students agree that participating in Pepperdine's international programs was the most significant experience of their undergraduate years.
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