Pellissippi State leads two-year colleges nationally in study abroad students

Study abroad by American students has more than tripled during the past two decades, and Pellissippi State Community leads two-year colleges nationwide in the number of students who study abroad, according to a recent report on international education.

During the 2010-11 academic year, 174 Pellissippi State Community College students studied abroad. The numbers come from the most recent Open Doors Report, published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Study abroad programs, part of the overall international education initiative at many institutions of higher learning, allow students to immerse themselves in another culture while studying a wide array of subjects ranging from history and art to genetics and environmental science.

Pellissippi State students who study abroad do so through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. TnCIS, which is headquartered at the college, coordinates study abroad as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state.

Founded in 2006, TnCIS offers study abroad opportunities to students enrolled at Pellissippi State and other Tennessee Board of Regents institutions. More than 400 students and 50 faculty members from Tennessee participated in the 2012 summer study abroad programs coordinated by TnCIS.

“Honestly, Tennessee is a leader as a state,” said Tracey Bradley, TnCIS director. “When community colleges from outside the state hear what we are able to accomplish in study abroad, there is a sense that it is untouchable.”

“We’re committed to making international education available and affordable to our students,” said Allen G. Edwards, Pellissippi State president emeritus, “because in today’s global economy, it’s essential for students to learn about and experience other cultures.” Edwards was instrumental in the founding of TnCIS, and the college’s current president, L. Anthony Wise Jr., is highly supportive of both TnCIS and study abroad.

“Our study abroad programs are designed to help students earn credits toward degrees and to develop a broader understanding of the world in which they study, live, and work,” said Wise.

A key factor in Pellissippi State’s study abroad success, he says, is the college’s robust scholarship program. Funded through the international education fee, study abroad scholarships at Pellissippi State total more than $300,000 each year.

“Scholarship support allows our students to travel to places they might never have imagined,” Wise said. “Very often they come back better students and citizens and with a much better sense of who they are and what they want to do.”

Across the state, more than one million dollars is being awarded in study abroad scholarship money.

“Scholarships are key to our success in Tennessee,” Bradley said. “It proves that many institutions in addition to Pellissippi State are committed to international education and to ensuring that our students are prepared for the global workforce.”

The 2013 summer study abroad programs offered by TnCIS are Austria, Brazil, China, Ecuador/Galápagos Islands, England, France, Great European Capitals, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Peru, Scotland, South Africa and Spain. Three new study abroad experiences are also available this year: Eastern Europe’s Best, Iceland and Turkey.

For additional information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call (865) 539-7280. For more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.