The Chronicle of Higher Education: Arcadia University a Pacesetter in International Education

By schwartzsa | September 5, 2012

The Chronicle of Higher Education featured Arcadia University in the article “For a Growing Number of Freshman, Packing for College Requires a Passport,” on Sept. 3. Contributor Ian Wilhelm reports that a growing number of universities are encouraging students to study abroad early in their college life, something that Arcadia, an innovator in study abroad, has been doing since it introduced Preview in 1994 and the semester-long First Year Study Abroad Program in 2003.

To be sure, opportunities for first-year students to go abroad are not new. In 1994 Arcadia University, in Glenside, Pa., began offering a trip to London over spring break specifically for freshmen. Since then the program has expanded to 15 countries. The options include a trip to Shanghai to study China’s rise as an economic power and one to Havana focused on relations between Cuba and the United States.

Last spring, 308 first-year students—60 percent of the freshmen class—went overseas, says Janice Finn, Arcadia’s associate dean for international affairs.

The university also started offering a semester-abroad opportunity for freshmen in 2003. At the time, the university faced an overenrollment problem and decided to use its London facility as a release valve, offering students a $1,500 tuition discount and free airfare as an incentive to go abroad, said William Meiers, an Arcadia administrator who started the program. While it was meant as a temporary solution to a problem, the effort was considered a success and the university decided to keep the overseas program as an option.

The program is now offered in both the fall and the spring, and a second site, in Stirling, Scotland, was added. About 100 students are expected to take part during the 2012-13 academic year, said Mr. Meiers.

Photo by Mike Chiodo ’15