SPARTANBURG, S.C. (courtesy wofford.edu) — Mariella Stine ’25 learned a lot about herself while studying in Granada, Spain, during the spring 2023 semester. The most important lesson was that she could stand on her own.
“The independence of going abroad and participating in a program where there weren’t a lot of Wofford students was a good thing for me,” says Stine, a Spanish and studio art double major from Sandy Springs, Georgia. “Now that I am back, my perspective about the challenges I face here is different, too. If I could handle going to another country for five months on my own, I can handle this.”
Study abroad program is a key ingredient in the Wofford College’s emphasis on high-impact, experiential learning opportunities. Wofford’s program is among the highest ranked nationally by the Institute of International Education in its annual Open Doors Report, which was released Nov. 13.
The college ranks No. 8 in the percentage of students studying abroad for academic credit, No. 6 for short-term study abroad and No. 9 for the total number of students studying abroad among baccalaureate institutions. The rankings are based on data from the 2021-22 academic year and demonstrate the program’s rapid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are pleased to be nationally ranked in several categories for our study abroad participation,” says Amy Lancaster, Wofford’s dean of international programs. “Because of the global pandemic, very few students were able to study abroad. During 2021 and 2022, students and faculty were eager to travel again, and we were eager to support them in doing so safely. While that year was a challenging one, we were very happy to once again offer a broad spectrum of study abroad opportunities.”
Elikem Asimenu ’24, a business economics and computer science double major from Ghana, encountered strict COVID protocols when he studied in Germany during Interim 2022.
“You had to either have both vaccine doses and a booster, or both vaccine doses and be tested every 24 hours for COVID,” he says. “Public safety was extremely important to them. If you were testing every 24 hours, you’d have a card that could be scanned before going into venues that would check if your last test had expired or not. They also required N95 masks specifically.”
Despite having to negotiate the stringent regulations, Asimenu says he made the most of his opportunity.
“I studied startup culture in Europe, so my classes were about building businesses and innovation,” he says. “I’d wanted to learn how to build a business before going on this study abroad program, so this really helped me make progress in that.”