William & Mary is a leader in global education. For seven of the last 10 years, the university has had the highest percentage of undergraduates participating in study-abroad programs of any public university in the country. Consistently, well over 50% of undergraduate students study abroad for academic credit during any given year, and each year that number is inching closer to 60%. These William & Mary students typically spend time in more than 45 countries per year. During the pandemic, study abroad programs are continuing on a limited basis.
“William & Mary’s top ranking among public universities for study-abroad participation is an achievement of which the whole university can be justly proud,” says Stephen E. Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center for International Studies. “This success is a reflection of many factors, including the introduction of our new undergraduate COLL Curriculum within which study abroad is explicitly promoted, the great support of W&M faculty across every department and discipline, the hard work and vision of the Reves Center staff and of course the deep global engagement of W&M students themselves.”
William & Mary’s Reves Center for International Studies offers students a diverse selection of study-abroad opportunities through the Global Education Office.
“Study abroad has become an integral part of a W&M liberal arts education by providing opportunities for students to challenge themselves in unfamiliar contexts, engage with ideas and knowledge new to them and self-reflectively consider their place in the world,” says Sylvia Mitterndorfer, director of global education for the Reves Center. “We are committed to increasing international opportunities, access and engagement for all students who wish to study abroad, with values of diversity and inclusion at the core of our mission. More students are participating in study abroad, going to a greater variety of destinations and studying across all majors. In addition, we are grateful to award more than $600,000 annually for study-abroad scholarships as part of efforts to reduce financial barriers.”
On average, 30% of students who study abroad during the academic year and 33% who study abroad during the summer are afforded the opportunity to do so through need-based scholarships provided by private support. Scholarships make the critical difference in enabling students to pursue their passions around the globe and provide opportunities for intellectual and personal growth.
“I think it came to me in an email, it said ‘congratulations the money will be put into your account’ and I just freaked out — freaked out is a good word for it, too,” says one excited student from Richmond, Virginia, who studied abroad in Italy. “It really would not have been possible without the Reves Center’s backing, so as soon as I got the email it meant that not only would I be supported, it meant that I would actually be able to go.”