On September 22nd, during Parents Weekend, a record setting crowd of over 22,000 Hilltopper fans watched as nearly 80 WKU study abroad students were recognized on the football field. The students where joined by international exchange students from partner institutions, faculty, and staff of the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning in waving their red towels during the second quarter of the WKU vs. Southern Mississippi football game. Event officials commented that this was one of the best and most spirited groups which they had taken on to the field.
The WKU student population was very receptive to the presence of the Study Abroad team at the football game. After lining up to receive free promotional t-shirts as they entered the stadium, many students stayed to talk with the office staff about studying internationally. Bearing the logo “From the Hilltop to the World”, the t-shirts were gone in record time, allowing over 300 students to walk way with new Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning (SAGL) shirts.
This outreach event is one of many efforts being made this year to encourage more WKU students to go global with their education. Increasingly, an international experience, whether it be studying, researching, teaching, or interning abroad is a vital component of a 21st Century university experience. According to Dr. Craig T. Cobane, Chief International Officer, a recent national study of hiring officials demonstrated that over 70% of them would prefer to hire a candidate with relevant international experience. WKU is providing the opportunity for students to have that experience.
The students recognized during the game represented a vast range of programs and prices. However, to assist in defraying costs, the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning provides the World Topper Scholarship. The scholarship was heavily marketed during the game as a way to defray costs and help encourage more WKU students to study abroad. This year WKU will offer nearly $170,000 to support the international educational goals of WKU students.
Following the success of the football game promotion, the Study Abroad office has seen a surge in numbers of students interested in studying abroad, and looks forward to assisting any and all students who wish to go from the “Hilltop to the World.”
For more information contact the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning, at 270-745-5334 or Study.Abroad@wku.edu