More than two years after the COVID-19 pandemic froze international travel, administrators of Florida State University’s Global Programs for International and U.S. Students have a message: We’re back.
And then some.
As it observes International Education Month, FSU is seeing its number of international students and those applying to study abroad programs surpass pre-pandemic levels. The university kicked off International Education Month on Tuesday, November 1 at the Globe Auditorium, with a keynote address from FSU President Richard McCullough, followed by The Going Global Showcase.
“As a top 20 public university, we believe providing opportunities for global engagement and nurturing a rich multicultural environment is fundamental to student and faculty success,” said McCullough.
FSU has study centers in London; Florence, Italy; and Valencia, Spain; and a campus in Panama City, Panama. Last summer, the university offered study abroad opportunities in Paris, France; Prague, Czech Republic; Dresden, Germany; Oxford, England; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Cetamura del Chianti, Italy.
McCullough has made FSU’s national reputation — with a Top 20 ranking by U.S. News & World Report for four consecutive years — a top priority, and at the heart of that is the university’s reputation abroad. .
This includes the growing global reputation of its faculty members, many of whom collaborate internationally and publish research that enjoys global reach and recognition. It also includes the work of FSU-based entities such as the Center for Global Engagement and the Learning Systems Institute.
Trustees say that two main factors determine FSU’s international reputation: the programs and people the university sends abroad and, conversely, the experiences and impressions of visiting international students and scholars.
That dynamic is front and center in the university’s planning, McCullough said.
“Increasing international engagement and cultural competency are key elements of our strategic plan as we look to the next five years,” he said. “Specifically, we seek to strengthen international research collaborations, enhance reciprocal academic exchange, and create and implement a communications strategy to highlight our internationalization efforts and increase recognition of FSU at national levels. and internationally.”
Cindy Green, director of FSU’s Center for Global Engagement, or CGE, said 1,850 international students were enrolled for the fall semester, marking a slight increase from pre-pandemic numbers.
And Jim Pitts, director of international programs, said his office tracked the second highest number of students ever in its study abroad programs last summer – despite a current pause in China and Russia. .
Green said CGE’s in-person events such as the International Coffee Hour have also seen an increase in attendance. The weekly event draws up to 500 attendees, more than double the number three years ago, Green said.
“It’s like people are so happy to have events to attend,” she said.
Green noted that participation in global exchanges — which involve students studying for at least one semester at one of FSU’s 45 international partner institutions — is also on the rise. Thirty-three students participated in 2021-2022, with 48 expected to participate in 2022-2023.
A recent social mix of FSU international programs staff and current students has helped underscore the demand, Pitts said. The event brought together 330 students, almost triple the expected number.
“The students are ready to go,” Pitts said. “They are excited and the appetite to study abroad, to learn new ways of thinking, new cultures and new languages is rejuvenated.”
FSU’s international work extends well beyond student programs.
For more than 50 years, FSU’s Learning Systems Institute has played a consistent role in strengthening the university’s international reputation and the impact it can have on the world.
LSI’s mission is to improve human life through education and its work has reached more than 40 countries on five continents. Her expertise in literacy, instructional design and curriculum development, teacher training, educational technology, and higher education capacity building is for students in kindergarten and up.
The institute has played a key role in developing national education programs around the world, including in South Korea, universally recognized as having one of the best education systems in the world.
“When we can make a small change, have a small impact, but that impact is on current and future students across an entire nation, that’s very powerful and what makes us so passionate about what we do,” said LSI director Rabieh Razzouk. “Wanting to help others and being able to see that effect, not just now, but knowing it will be there after we are gone, there is nothing more rewarding.”
LSI offers over 1,000 online courseware for students and teachers, including training and classroom courses, and when the pandemic hit, the institute made them all freely available online – ready to use. by educators and students around the world.
The tutorials have served more than 25 million educators, parents and students and garnered more than 120 million resource views during the pandemic, Razzouk said.
“With this work and this support,” he said, “FSU is like a beacon of light.”
For more information about International Education Month at FSU, visit https://global.fsu.edu/iem.