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Purdue's study abroad push paying off

Purdue is seeing results already from its decision to boost study abroad experiences.

As part of the Purdue Moves initiatives, the university is offering students $1,000 to help finance a short, international experience. A student also can receive a $3,000 stipend for a semester-long study abroad.

Chief Global Affairs Officer Suresh Garimella says since the announcement a few weeks ago, the number of applications from students in the College of Engineering has doubled.

“We may have been almost conservative in plotting out our growth targets, but then again, there were probably low-hanging fruit – people who were waiting for some help that are signing on,” he says. “To move even more students, it’ll probably take the curricular integration, the comfort with where they’re going, and the identification of strategic partners.”

Garimella says grouping opportunities, such as with a university and a large employer, could attract more students to study abroad. Administrators say the experience should earn participants course credit and not set back their graduation date.

Garimella says strategic partnerships with universities and businesses are a key part of the effort.

“If Cummins or Caterpillar or so, have branches in that area, then can they help broaden the experiences of our students there?” he says. “You know, studying abroad is great, but actually being in a company abroad would be an even more interesting experience.”

The School of Mechanical Engineering already has a study abroad arrangement with a university and company in China.

Garimella also says they want to make sure students are truly benefiting from such an experience. Researchers will look to quantify how much impact study abroad has.