Too Few Kentuckians Study Abroad

Oct 26, 2011

When it comes to sending students abroad, Kentucky lags behind neighboring states. But one group of international educators is working to change that. Kentucky colleges and universities sent just under 3000 students to study abroad during the 2008-2009 school year. Meanwhile, Ohio graduated students with international education experience at a rate five times that. 

Anthony Odgen is the director of the Kentucky Council on Education Abroad, the first such network of its kind in the Commonwealth. He wants to bring together international educators and leaders from around the state to pool their knowledge and help put Kentucky on the map. Odgen also has a challenge for students. 

"What are you doing now to prepare yourself to live and work effectively in a global world? Students need to ask themselves that question," he said. 

One UK student who took that advice is Seth Riker, who studied Spanish in Chile last fall. 

"Studying abroad isn't necessarily a perk to a college eduction. These days it's becoming a necessity," Riker said. 

Odgen says Kentucky needs to do a better job addressing the barriers students face when trying to study abroad and also work to make the state a more attractive destination for international students.