Center for Global Education Prepares Students, Promotes Safe Travel for Study Abroad

CGE was awarded the first of several U.S. Department of Education grants to develop the Safety Abroad First — Educational Travel Information Clearinghouse.

For most students, the idea of study abroad evokes visions of exploring new cultures and languages, and of making new friends in exotic locations. However, the experience is not without its challenges, and sometimes, in the worst case, danger. The Center for Global Education (CGE), one of 15 research institutes at the Graduate School of Education & Information Science, is a multi-service resource that develops resources for faculty and staff in higher education in the United States and around the world. The center’s guidance helps institutions design and administer high-quality study-abroad programs to maximize the experience and to address the risks that inevitably come with sending college students to live in foreign lands.

“We have resources to both help colleges and universities develop quality programming for students pre-departure, while abroad and with re-entry as well as to advise them on how to be prepared to respond to crises anytime anywhere,” said center director Gary Rhodes. He has led the center since its inception, taking it from USC to Loyola Marymount and finally to UCLA, where it has resided in GSE&IS for almost three years.

Next quarter, Rhodes will be co-teaching a course at UCLA on the administration of international programs in higher education. He has also been collaborating with UCLA faculty and staff to support international learning in the GSE&IS Masters in Student Affairs program.

Despite the recession and the rising cost of attending college, the stream of American students going abroad continues to grow steadily, albeit at a slower pace. Close to 274,000 U.S. students participated in such programs in 2010-11, the most recent year for which data are available. That’s up 1.3 percent from the previous year. Over the last 20 years, student participation in study-abroad programs has more than tripled, according to the Open Doors 2012 report by the Institute of International Education.

Rhodes was recently quoted in an Inside Higher Ed article on the preparedness of faculty to deal with medical emergencies in study abroad situations.

For the full story in UCLA Today, click here.