Study Abroad Numbers Double at Ohio State's College of Food, Ag, Env Sciences

Allison Whitaker enjoys her time on a farm in Australia, one of the most popular study abroad destinations among CFAES students.
  • 80 students get ready to travel to five destinations this May.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is reaching a milestone at the end of this school year: doubling the number of students participating in study abroad programs compared to last year.
During the 2012-2013 academic cycle, the number of students participating in CFAES-sponsored study abroad programs together with CFAES students participating in other international study opportunities reached 316, up from the 156 students who participated in such programs during the 2011-2012 year.
The college is committed to promoting the importance of international travel as part of a well-rounded educational experience in an increasingly globalized world, CFAES study abroad specialist Kelly Newlon said.
In fact, the college is a leader at Ohio State in this arena -- 30 percent of its students take part in study abroad programs on average, compared to the university's overall rate of 20 percent.
This year's numbers, however, are likely to boost the college's percentage to close to 50 percent, according to Newlon.
"The change to semesters and the inclusion of very popular programs have contributed to this dramatic increase," she said. "Some 80 students enrolled in the May session, which we didn't have before, and 84 students traveled to Ireland in December."
Ohio State switched from quarters to a semester-based system starting with the 2012-2013 academic year. Under quarters, the school year ended in early June.
This year's May study abroad session, which goes from May 6-31, features five destinations: Beijing, southeast China, Ghana, Australia and Great Britain. For the 2014 May session, there will be at least nine program offerings, Newlon said.
Some study abroad programs offered by CFAES also include service-learning opportunities. This group of students helped build a biodigester that processes wastewater and generates biogas at a rural community in Costa Rica over spring break.
Jacob Farr, a junior from Paulding, Ohio, majoring in food science and technology, will be attending the Food Safety, Security and Production program in Beijing. This will be Farr's first study abroad adventure and his first trip outside of North America.
"This study abroad program is a perfect fit for a food science major," Farr said. "I’m really interested in learning about the ways in which China is trying to feed a large population as sustainably as possible and the processing techniques they use.
"I think it will be very valuable for my future studies and for entering the workforce to know what the other half of the world looks like, and the ways in which they do things differently."
The latest boost in study abroad numbers is part of a long-term trend within the college, Newlon said. During the 2004-2005 school year, only 65 students studied abroad. In 2009-2010, that number had risen to 145.

"We have worked hard to make study abroad more accessible to more students," Newlon explained. "We are providing shorter-term programs that can better fit their schedules.

"We have also focused on keeping costs lower by traveling to more accessible countries and during times when it's less expensive. Additionally, thanks to our donors, all of our students receive at least some amount of scholarship money to study abroad."
The college currently offers 21 different study abroad programs, ranging in duration from 10 days to four weeks.

"We offer programs on all continents, except for Antarctica," Newlon said. "But there’s a plan to go there no later than 2017."

More information about CFAES study abroad programs is available at

For more information contact: 
CFAES News Team

Kelly Newlon