April 29, 2021 — The Open Doors 2020 Study Abroad report has ranked CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) Study Abroad as 9th in the nation for the 2019-2020 academic year. The 2020 Open Doors report is released by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education (IIE).  


The pandemic cut the programs short at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, but the Study Abroad staff is ready to go when it’s safe for students to travel again.


“We will have to go along with what the government dictates, but at the same time, I’m pretty optimistic about a lot of the world being vaccinated by toward the end of this year, and maybe by Spring or Summer of 2022, we’ll get back to some kind of normalcy,” said Director of International Programs Mayumi Kowta. 


According to Study Abroad Coordinator Courtney Gross, 32 students have been accepted into the next Study Abroad program, with plans to travel to the United Kingdom; Spain; Canada; Germany; South Korea; Taiwan; Ghana and France, to name a few destinations. 


Second year Studio Art major Lacy Modlin plans to travel to Florence, Italy, to study as soon as the pandemic lifts. 


“I have been to Italy before, but I am super excited to go abroad and experience what it is like actually living there,” Modlin said. “I’ve heard studying abroad changes you as a person and I can’t wait to see who I become after my experience in Italy.”  


Gross said the Study Abroad program offers an invaluable dimension to a student’s college experience. 


“Students gain a new feeling of independence and self-confidence when they study abroad,” Gross said. “It comes from the fact that they can visit a place that’s brand new to them and they can survive. They feel powerful, capable and worthy, even long after graduation. And career options open up not just in Ventura County, but all over the world.” 


This is the second time CSUCI has placed among the top 20 master’s degree-granting institutions that offer long-term study abroad programs. CSUCI moved up six places from 2017-2018, when the program ranked 15th in the nation.  


Gross believes one of the reasons the Study Abroad program ranks so highly is that it’s affordable, and for expenses the student can’t cover, there is help. 


“There are a lot of misconceptions about study abroad,” Gross said. “Like the idea that it’s only something wealthy students can afford. The tuition for the study abroad programs we offer is exactly the same, and there are scholarships.” 


The Open Doors report further revealed that, for the fifth year in a row, the United States hosted more than one million international students (1,075,496) during the 2019/2020 academic year.  


Until the pandemic eases, Kowta and Gross are looking into other options for study abroad students, such as a national student exchange. 


“We can promote exchange within the country to different states,” Kowta said. “Students could travel to places like Colorado or Las Vegas, for example. We could partner with different universities.”  


CSUCI’s International Programs team also plans to create cultural exchanges with students from other nations who are studying in Ventura County. 


“Even though our students might not have the opportunity to physically study abroad, they can still interact with students from different countries,” Kowta said. “We plan to create a buddy program as our international students might be feeling alone with the travel restrictions. With this program, we can match up our domestic CSUCI students with a buddy. They can learn from each other.” 


For more on CSUCI’s Study Abroad programs, visit: www.csuci.edu/international/study-abroad/.

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