Study abroad programs receive record number of applicants

Aleksandra Peeva, a junior studying health management and policy and global business, is studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland.
By Caroline Val and Janette Neuwahl Tannen

Aleksandra Peeva, a junior studying health management and policy and global business, is studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Study abroad programs receive record number of applicants

By Caroline Val and Janette Neuwahl Tannen
More than 400 University students have applied to study abroad for the upcoming semester, as they seek to experience new places and cultures, practice using a foreign language, and all while earning credits toward their degrees.

Senior Sydnee Levett had a strong foundation in Spanish, but she also knew that she would never master the language unless she was forced to speak it constantly. This drew Levett—a double major in biology and Spanish—to spend the fall in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the University of Miami Study Abroad program, ULatin America. 

“Having conversations in person and hearing how people converse with you in everyday interactions is what I was really looking for,” said Levett, a Singer Scholar and Foote Fellow currently living with an Argentinian host family. “I had also never been to South America before.”

Levett is one of many University of Miami students eager to learn outside of the United States this year and take advantage of experiencing new cultures, studying in historic libraries, and visiting world famous landmarks. 

“The idea of traveling, or even just leaving your house, was unimaginable during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I think more people realize just how special an experience like this can be,” said Aleksandra Peeva, a junior studying health management and policy, as well as global business in Edinburgh, Scotland, this year. 

More than 400 students have applied to the Study Abroad programs for the upcoming spring semester, which typically fields around 300, according to Devika Milner, assistant dean and director of Study Abroad.

“I’m delighted for many reasons. One, because we understand how disappointing the COVID-19 time frame was when students did not have an opportunity to study abroad, and also because we are seeing a renewed interest in experiential learning programs,” said Milner. 

Although the deadlines for spring semester study abroad programs have passed, Milner and her staff are hopeful that students’ renewed interest in their programs will extend into the summer. Several new faculty-led summer programs were recently added to the roster for 2023, including one in Florence, Italy, geared toward biomedical engineering students; a Jewish study program in Spain; and an entrepreneurship program in Israel. The summer programs have application deadlines of Feb. 1, 2023.

“The data shows that students who study abroad will stand out when it comes time to apply for graduate school or jobs,” Milner said. “These experiences will not only help them become more competent in the market, but also students who go abroad become more cross-culturally fluent, which is always something more American students should strive for.” 

UBarcelona and URome are two programs that currently have the largest numbers of participants for spring. With more than 100 applicants, Barcelona has garnered the largest enrollment in the history of the University’s Study Abroad program, just a year after it was launched. 

“Many University of Miami students recognize the value of moving outside of their own comfort zone, to live in a completely new place, and perhaps to learn a new language,” Milner said.  

Peeva wanted a challenge just like that when she decided to spend the entire academic year in Edinburgh. The Jupiter, Florida, native had always wanted to study abroad in college—it even spurred her to major in global business. Although she had a few bumps, finding a flat and understanding the student visa process, Peeva said she felt supported by University staff and is thrilled with her decision.

“I came to Edinburgh in 2019 and loved the city, the old buildings, and the feeling of being in a completely different world than Miami,” she said. “When I was considering where to go, the United Kingdom was at the top of my list, and Edinburgh was my favorite place in the UK. It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made, at least recently. There is a lot to learn and experience from studying abroad, and I think that's what makes it so unique.”

Learn more about Study Abroad programs and their information sessions.