(December 17, 2008)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Report on International Education Exchange Shows Numbers Up

SHREVEPORT, La.— Following a trend that is sweeping the nation's colleges and universities, Centenary students are traveling the world to study abroad, while international students are attending the northwest Louisiana college as exchange or degree-seeking students.

During the 2007/08 academic year, 30 students from across the globe attended Centenary, and included students from Canada, France, Honduras, the Bahamas, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Poland, Serbia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Denmark.

module students
Front row (left to right): Aisling O'Hanlon, Northern Ireland, Queenie Kwok, Hong Kong, Karen Sin, Hong Kong, Laura Martinez, Mexico—Back row (left to right): Martin Koch, Germany, Romain Capelle, France, Rémy Catelain, France, Perrine Delobel, France, Jules Bourgon, France, Evan Magill, Canada, Sergio Cananzi, Italy, Natasa Draganic, Montenegro (photo by Rick DelaHaya)

According to the 2008 Open Doors report, published annually by the Institute of International Education, the number of international students enrolled in colleges and universities around the country increased by 7 percent. Open Doors reports an even higher increase in the number of new international students, those enrolled for the first time at a college or university, which rose 10 percent from the previous year. Even though with the number of international students attending Centenary has not increased but remained the same, these students are coming to the College for the cultural experience.

Queenie Kwok, a student from Lingan University in Hong Kong, decided to attend Centenary based on her friend's recommendation. "One of my friends attended Centenary two years ago and she told me about her experience," the 21-year old political science major said. "She told me about her experience and so I thought I should come here too."

Centenary also had students studying abroad during the same period, also in line with the national trend. Last year alone, 121 students from the College traveled to foreign lands to study, including Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom. Of the more than 1,700 students from Louisiana who studied abroad last year, almost 7 percent were from Centenary.

module students
A group of students traveled to China this summer as part of their May Module.They are: Front Row (left to right) Leslie Cothren, Danielle Dupree, Ashley Johnston, Katie Matza, Nicki Matteson, Christina Poole, Dr. Meg Webber, and Dr. Robert Prickett. Back Row (left to Right) Will Andrews, Ed Behrens, Tyler Treadway, and Andrew Bowers. (courtesy photo)

The same report states that students are recognizing the importance of an international education in today's global society and are studying abroad in record numbers, which increased by 8 percent. While the number of Centenary students studying abroad has remained the same, the students are still seeing the impact it has on their education and growth as individuals, according to April Valentine, Director of Intercultural Engagement.

"Centenary College students who study abroad and international students who attend Centenary play a vital role for their respective communities and home countries—that of unofficial cultural ambassadors to their host country," said Valentine. "The international study program provides students many opportunities to enhance their college education with increased understanding of their relationship to other people outside their own communities. Rather than simply reading about a culture, those students who participate in international May module courses, summer or semester study abroad programs live in the culture."

The experiences, Valentine went on to say, challenge the students to interact daily with people who have different values and beliefs, and upon return to the states, have first-hand knowledge to share with their peers and other members of the Centenary community. "Studying abroad also gives them a better understanding of the life of an international student here at Centenary," she said.

Each semester, new international students from several countries arrive at the College to begin their term of study at Centenary. "These students add an international dimension to diversity on campus, sharing opinions and experiences with classmates, faculty and staff," Valentine added. "They join Greek life and other student organizations, play sports and engage in other pursuits which may take them off campus and into our community. Through their observations of cultural differences and similarities they encounter here, international students enrich the lives of people they interact with—either on or off campus."

To learn more about the international education opportunities, contact April Valentine at 318.869.5702 or email.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and is regularly rated as one of the top colleges in the South. In 2008 Centenary College celebrates 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.