Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin ranked second in number of students studying abroad

According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), 10 percent of undergraduate students in the United States will study abroad by time they graduate. According to Tom Van Eck, associate director of enrollment research, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of Calvin students will participate in study abroad programs during their college career.

This unusual statistic has earned Calvin College a second place ranking (among other U.S. baccalaureate institutions) for number of students studying abroad. The IIE recorded 601 Calvin students studying abroad during the 201314 academic year, which is 15 percent of the entire student body.

Calvin’s history of off-campus programs began in 1968 with a group of students studying in France during Interim. By the mid-1970s, Calvin students could join semester abroad programs with other institutions. It wasn’t until 1983 that Calvin began its own program: the semester in Spain. In the past 32 years, the collection has grown to include countries such as Britain, Hungary, Honduras, China, Ghana, Germany and Peru.

Along the way, Calvin has maintained a policy of keeping semester programs affordable and close to the cost of a regular semester. This allows more students the opportunity to study abroad through Calvin.

Don De Graaf, director of off-campus programs, explained, “Motivations [for students to study abroad] vary from adventure to seeking new experiences, from academics to wanting more hands on education, from developing cultural competence to learning job-related skills.”

“Studying abroad is not easy, but it is rich,” continued De Graaf. “It offers students an opportunity to explore the wonder, heartbreak and hope in the world.”

Many Calvin students who have studied and are currently studying abroad can attest to that statement.

Junior Caris Lopez, who studied in Spain last year, said, “Although it was hard at times, now looking back, I’m glad I went.”

Junior Jennie Meulenberg, who is currently in France, said, “I would most definitely recommend my trip to anyone who wants to grow and challenge themselves.”

Senior Anneke Mallett studied in Britain last spring and was able to travel throughout Europe: “It helped me to see the world is much, much bigger than the space I occupy and that there is value in worldviews outside of my own.”

Alumna Shannon De Jong spent a semester in Ghana and currently works as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. “Studying abroad in Ghana was the highlight of my Calvin career. Those few months of intense learning and experiencing life in Ghana strengthened my desire to pursue work in the field of international development.”

The ultimate goal of studying abroad, according to De Graaf, is “to see God’s evolving story in this world and to learn to dwell well wherever the student lives.”

If you’d like to learn more about Calvin’s semester and Interim abroad opportunities, visit the off-campus programs office (Spoelhof 301) or webpage.

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