The University of Wyoming's five-year strategic plan prioritizes faculty and student participation in international academic programs.
During the 2017-18 academic year, 470 students and 38 faculty went abroad. That was up 20-percent from the previous year. But Shelley Jewell, UW’s Director of Education Abroad, said by 2022 the university would like to see a total of 650 students and faculty getting off campus and out into the world.
She said it’s increasingly important for students to graduate with skills that come with exposure to other countries and cultures.
“Employers are expecting students to have skills where they can work in cross-cultural teams, where they have an understanding of where the United States is placed internationally,” said Jewell. “And so by studying abroad, we see that students gain these skills and perspectives that are really essential for being successful once they complete college.”
And it’s not just employers who value study abroad.
“Also graduate schools are watching to see that students have had these kinds of experiences as well,” said Jewell. “So I think study abroad is hugely important for students personally, from the personal growth flexibility standpoint, as well as gaining this cross-cultural awareness piece.”
UW's study abroad programs range from 10-day trips to full academic years. Through an endowment created by Dick and Lynne Cheney, according to Jewell, her office is able to provide close to $300,000 to financially support students who go abroad.