New Education Abroad council thinking global

By Amelia Orwick

Members of the Kentucky Council on Education Abroad met Wednesday and discussed ways in which the state can improve its students’ international experiences.

This was the council’s first meeting, and about 75 people attended, representing 40 institutions in Kentucky.

In his first year as UK’s Director of Education Abroad, Anthony Ogden visited institutions across the state to assess international programming.

As a result, the KCEA was born.

“Kentucky is lagging behind other states in education abroad,” Ogden said, “and that has become very clear among my colleagues. Basically we all have a renewed commitment to work collaboratively to make sure more students have international knowledge and skills.”

All of Kentucky’s neighboring states, excluding West Virginia, send more students abroad.

“If you look across the country, Kentucky is near the bottom of the list,” Ogden said. “What that means is that when students graduate from UK, they’ll have less international knowledge than students from Ohio, Tennessee and so on.”

One of the the council’s primary goals is to turn this trend around so that Kentucky students will be more successful upon graduating.

Ogden said employers are looking for innovative people.

“If you look at graduate schools, they’re looking for students who have studied abroad and students who have held internships abroad,” he said.

Students who have already gained international experience can attest to Ogden’s statements.

“Our job market is becoming more global and competitive,” sophomore Joanna Walsh said. Walsh spent time studying in Costa Rica over the summer.

“I have a more well-rounded world view as a result, and I feel like I can better adapt to different cultures and situations,” Walsh said.

During the meeting, there were several brainstorming sessions on how to most effectively promote international study, Ogden said.

“Everyone brought an idea of what they’re doing at their university, so everyone went home with 75 ideas on how to promote education abroad on their campus,” Ogden said.

The Kentucky Council on Education Abroad will meet twice a year, once during each semester. The spring meeting is scheduled at Bellarmine University in Louisville.

“The meeting went beautifully,” Ogden said. “Time just flew by because we have a lot to talk about.”