More and more Yalies are opting to spend their summers taking Yale courses overseas, according to data provided by Director of Study Abroad Kelly McLaughlin.
Yale Summer Session study abroad programs, which feature courses taught abroad by Yale faculty members for Yale College credit, saw a 17 percent increase in Yalie participation this year — from 608 in 2017 to 713 in 2018. The uptick in study abroad participation comes against the backdrop of an increase in the Yale College population with the addition of Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges in 2017.
“Study abroad can be wonderfully effective in allowing students to find new spaces far from whatever bubbles they might have been in before,” McLaughlin said. “In doing so, they encounter new ways of being, of distilling meaningful signals from the sometimes all-consuming noise around them.”
According to a 2016 report issued by Yale’s Center for International and Professional Experience, 90 percent of students participating in study abroad programs reported increased independence, adaptability and persistence and decreased fear of making mistakes after an experience with the center, which includes both international and domestic programs.
In interviews with the News, many students said they gained new perspectives during their time abroad.
“I gained a comprehensive understanding of how people live and think outside of the U.S., and it was extremely refreshing,” said Ava Daniel ’20, who studied abroad in Valencia, Spain, during the summer of 2018. “Spanish culture is centered around community, family and spending quality time with one another, which really is a lovely way to live. I am definitely going to incorporate this … into my everyday life, especially while at Yale.”
McLaughlin explained that students regularly report much “greater peace and excitement” after an experience abroad. They tend to cite the same feelings when discussing “the bigger pictures of their lives — pictures they now [after an experience abroad] see with heightened clarity,” he added.
Other programs also exist for Yalies who want experience abroad. The Yale branch of the nonprofit AIESEC, for example, matches students with local nongovernmental organizations, schools and small enterprises to create volunteer experiences.
“While Yale offers a huge variety of study abroad and international summer experiences,” said Robert Jett ’20, the president of Yale’s branch of AIESEC, “AIESEC hopes to occupy both a geographic and experiential niche by placing Yale students in challenging volunteer environments around the world.”
Last summer, AIESEC’s Yale chapter sent 13 Yale students on volunteer experiences in seven different countries, a decrease from the 37 participants the previous year.
“Other international experiences, such as AIESEC, can most certainly provide profound opportunities of their own,” McLaughlin told the News in February. “The study abroad office in particular is focused on coursework that earns credit toward graduation. As ever, we hope that any programs that students undertake abroad are approached with a measure of critical reflection on how best to engage and how to remain aware of and plan for any health and safety concerns.”
Yalies’ most popular travel destinations in the summer of 2018 were the United Kingdom, France, Spain, China and Italy.
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Correction, Sep. 12: A previous version of this story misrepresented the number of Yale students who studied abroad over the summer for credit. 608 Yale students studies abroad in 2017, not 301; and, in 2018, 713 Yale students studied abroad for credit during the summer, not 364, as previously stated. That amounts to a 17 percent increase, not 20. The story has been updated to amend these errors.