IIE Networker - Spring 2009 - (Page 37)

STUDY ABROAD The Middle East as a Study Abroad Destination By Maria C. Krane ON U.S. UNIVERSITY campuses, study abroad advisers commonly hear students say they want to study in the United Kingdom. Imagine their surprise when a student walks into their office and says, “I want to study in Kuwait!” The advisor’s first thought is likely to be, “Is there a study abroad program in Kuwait?” Since 2001, interest in studying in the Middle East has grown. As a result, institutions of higher learning and other study abroad providers are rushing to meet the demand. Fueling the interest in studying in the Middle East is the increase in the number of students taking Arabic. According to the latest report on foreign language enrollment published by the Modern Language Association, the enrollment in Arabic grew by 127 percent from 2002 to 2006. Nearly 24,000 students are enrolled in courses offered by 466 U.S. universities. The growth in the number of universities now including Arabic in their foreign language curricula is also astounding—it almost doubled since 2002!1 Not every university, however, has a fully developed Arabic teaching program that takes students from the beginning to the most advanced levels of language learning. It behooves students who want to attain higher levels of Arabic proficiency to enroll at a Middle Eastern university where they can continue to learn the language while fully immersed in the culture. Statistics Compared to other well-established study abroad destinations, however, the Middle East and North Africa offer a dearth of opportunities for U.S. students. Of the 8,500 programs listed in the study abroad directories the Institute of International Education publishes (IIEPassport: Academic Year Abroad and IIEPassport: Short-Term Study Abroad), only 2 percent are located in that part of the world. Although the Middle East hosts only a small percentage of all U.S. study abroad students, the number of students studying in the region is steadily increasing. Not surprisingly, the number dropped dramatically in 2002/03; but from 2003/04 on, it began to increase and even surpass the total recorded before 2001. According to IIE’s Open Doors 2008, 2,764 U.S. students studied abroad in the Middle East in 2006/07, a 7 percent increase over the previous year. world provide Arabic language study and area studies in a context of total cultural immersion. U.S. students are given the opportunity Enrollment in Arabic language classes grew by 127 percent from 2002 to 2006. AMIDEAST: Meeting the Challenge of Program Development Is the Middle East ready for the growing interest in Arabic as a foreign language and the region as a study abroad destination? The development of study abroad opportunities in the Arab world is a challenging enterprise, requiring experience and an extensive network of contacts. AMIDEAST, a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 with field offices throughout the Middle East and North Africa, decided to meet the challenge. Building on its 55 years of experience in the region, it launched a new study abroad program in Rabat, Morocco in 2007. AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs in the Arab to experience Arab culture through interactions with their peers and structured reflections on observations and experiences. AMIDEAST, like many organizations in the field of education abroad, must confront the issue of capacity abroad in light of students’ increased interest. Under the leadership of Dr. Jerome Bookin-Weiner, director of study abroad and outreach for AMIDEAST, the organization will expand its programs in 2009-10. Students may choose to study for a semester or academic year in Cairo, Egypt (Arab Academy); Amman, Jordan (Qasid Institute for Modern Standard & Classical Arabic); Kuwait, Kuwait (American University of Kuwait); or Rabat, Morocco (Mohammed V University—Agdal). Jovonte Santos studied in Oman in the Fall of 2008 with the help of a Gilman Scholarship. 37

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2009

IIE Networker - Spring 2009
 Message from Allan E. Goodman
 IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series: Edward Guiliano, President of New York Institute of Technology
 Best Practices in International Education: 2009 Andrew Heiskell Awards
 HRH Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan Receives IIE Humanitarian Award
 Qatar's Outstanding Schools Initiative: A New Model for International Linkages in Education
 The Community College of Qatar: New Initiative to Meet Emergent National Educational and Labor Market Goals
 Toward a UAE Liberal Studies Stream
 New York University Abu Dhabi and the Research University as Global Network
 Expanding Education Abroad in the Arab World
 The Middle East as a Study Abroad Destination
 Student Flows from the Middle East: Iranian and Saudi Arabian Students in the United States
 The Desert as Meeting Place: Where Students from the Middle East and Around the World Come Together
 A Race to the Top: Helping Jordan Win the Right Race
 The Browser: Index of Advertisers
 IIE Program Profile: IIE's Work in the MENA Region

IIE Networker - Spring 2009