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Global Perspectives - Autumn 2014 Newsletter

In this issue of Global Perspectives, you will find the following stories:

  1. Ohio State ranked in the top 15 nationally for study abroad and international students
  2. William Brustein on global perspectives
  3. Brazil Gateway launches new opportunities
  4. International programs receive federal funding
  5. Ohio State awarded $500,000 grant for Passport to India initiative
  6. Global Buckeyes alumni spotlight: Jared Psigoda
  7. International scholar profile: Nizar Saad
  8. Orientation welcomes new international students to Ohio State
  9. Ohio State hosts Health Sciences Innovation Conference in Mumbai - January 2015
  10. Study abroad profile: Wedad Shafi
  11. Study abroad profile: Eric Vinyard

Ohio State ranked in the top 15 nationally for study abroad and international students

The Ohio State University is ranked in the top 10 nationally among doctoral institutions for the number of students studying abroad and is in the top 15 for its international student enrollment, according to a national report released today.

Ohio State ranks 7th among the nation’s colleges and universities with 2,255 students studying abroad in 2012-13, a 31 percent increase over the previous year. Ohio State ranks 2nd in the nation for the number of students participating in short-term programs with 2,139 studying abroad for one to eight weeks during the academic year. Of those students studying on short-term programs, 447 were first and second year students.

Ohio State ranks 14th in the nation with 6,800* international students enrolled in 2013, an increase of five percent.  

These findings were issued as part of the 2014 Open Doors Report, an annual survey published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Participation in study abroad at Ohio State rebounded from 1,716 students and a 25th national ranking in 2011-12 as a result of a few key factors. Ohio State developed new and innovative programming geared toward first and second year students, instituted a university-wide commitment to make international opportunities accessible and affordable and the switch to semesters in autumn 2012 gave students a new opportunity to study abroad during a May session. As an added incentive, students that attended spring semester full time could participate in a study abroad program during May session (earning three credit hours) without paying tuition. Close to 600 of the 2,255 students that studied abroad in 2012-13 took advantage of the four-week May session programs.

“May session provides students with an opportune moment in their college career to study abroad and gain international experience in their field of study or complete General Education requirements,” said William Brustein, vice provost for global strategies and international affairs. “Students can now more easily gain international knowledge and perspective and still have time over summer break to take advantage of internships and other types of professional experience that will prepare them for their future careers.”

The slight increase in international student enrollment follows the university’s strategy of steady growth to ensure the quality of its applicants continues to rise. Ohio State enrolled 6,478 international students in 2012.

“Our recruitment strategy is geared toward gradual growth in our international student population to ensure we have enhanced programming in place that will help our students adapt to a new cultural environment, while supporting their academic success at Ohio State,” Brustein said.

International students at Ohio State hail from 109 different countries including, China (4,086); India (755); South Korea (514); Taiwan (185) and Malaysia (155). Nationally, the leading home countries for international students are China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

The top fields of study at Ohio State for international students include business, engineering, biomedical and biological sciences, and mathematics and statistics similar to the national trend.

The most popular destinations for Ohio State students to study abroad include the United Kingdom, China, Canada and Ireland. Nationally, the leading destinations for studying abroad are the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and France.

The top fields of study for Ohio State students studying abroad are business and management, social sciences and health sciences, whereas the national trend records science, technology, engineering and mathematics, social sciences, business and humanities.

The 2014 Open Doors Report is released as part of the nationwide observance of International Education Week (November 17-21), a joint initiative established by the U.S. Departments of Education and State.

At Ohio State, the week is celebrated with a number of activities supported by the Office of International Affairs, which oversees Ohio State’s study abroad programs and international student and scholar services. The office also advances high quality international education programs, scholarships and service activities to promote global opportunities for Ohio State, its faculty, staff and students. For more information, visit http://oia.osu.edu/

* The IIE’s collection of enrollment data for international students includes two categories of students who are not currently enrolled at Ohio State in classes for credit. They include “Optional Practical Training” students who are not taking classes, but are continuing their education through practical training in their field of study, and exchange students who are pursuing continuing (non-degree) education.


William Brustein on global perspectives

This column was originally published in Buckeye Voices, a university blog created to share great stories from senior leaders, alumni, faculty, students and staff – all told in the first person.

Everyone always asks me, “What does it mean to internationalize a university?” It’s not simply the number of international students we have enrolled or the number of students we have studying abroad. True internationalization calls for a thorough infusion or integration of international experiences and perspectives within the teaching and learning, research and discovery and outreach and engagement missions of each academic unit within the university. And, we are well on our way.

Our efforts recently have been recognized by NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, when we were selected as a recipient of the 2014 Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization, the top award in the U.S. for campus internationalization. The award affirms Ohio State is moving in the right direction and points to a positive story Ohio State can share.

In the last few years, we have witnessed a grassroots effort among our 14 colleges to take the university to the next level. No one single program stands out in our efforts toward achieving internationalization rather it is the comprehensive policies, curriculum innovations, research and scholarship, and outreach and engagement that are seamless in implementation throughout this very large and complex institution.

The depth and breadth of our internationalization successes start right here on our campus and stretch across the globe. A Global Option enables students to acquire international knowledge in their field of study. A dual degree program in engineering is now in place with Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The One Health Ethiopia initiative addresses cervical cancer, neonatology, food safety, rabies and learning technology. A record number of 14 scholars and 16 students received Fulbright grants in the span of one year. A partnership between Ohio State and the state of São Paulo creates a $1.4 million funding source to support research and innovation. A $24 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development enables us to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Tanzania. Global Gateways in China, India and Brazil serve as mini embassies to enhance partnerships. More than 2,400 students studied abroad last year, and over 6,300 international students call Ohio State home.

This short list is just a snapshot of the myriad of international activities that occur every single day at Ohio State. But internationalization is not only about our accomplishments, it is also a mindset.

As scholars at Ohio State, we seek comparative cases, overseas partners. We are curious about the ramifications of an issue not from just one country but maybe two or three. We acknowledge and embrace the fact that other people around the world are contemplating the same issue and we can review and compare outcomes and possible solutions. Our work is stronger as a result.

We are linking our classrooms with classrooms on the other side of the world, exposing our students to divergent perspectives. Whether students find jobs in the public or private sector, they will work in teams that are ethnically, socially and culturally different. The more we can expose them to diversity in the world and points of view unlike their own, the more productive they will be in the work place.

It is clear that we have fostered an international framework that has gained momentum. Now we must plan to build upon these achievements and the commitment to prepare our students to succeed in the global marketplace.

Ohio State does undoubtedly strive to be a global university. It’s akin to what the famous German sociologist Max Weber called an “ideal type” – an analytical construct that doesn’t exist in reality but offers us a standard upon which to set our sights. We have indeed a plan, a blueprint that helps us remain on course and work toward achieving our goals step by step.

Internationalization has become top of mind for every university across the country. It takes insight, planning, successful strategies and the support and engagement of every facet of an institution to do it right.

William Brustein is vice provost for global strategies and international affairs, and professor of sociology, political science and history.

Brazil Gateway launches new opportunities

Brazil Gateway Ribbon CuttingGlobal opportunities abound with the opening of the Brazil Gateway in São Paulo, Brazil. On September 13, a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorated the occasion with Ohio State leadership, alumni, global partners and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman on hand to celebrate Ohio State's presence in one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. The Brazil Gateway will serve as a catalyst to enhance global opportunities for Ohio State students and faculty. With Global Gateway offices also in Shanghai, China and Mumbai, India, Ohio State continues to consider opportunities for expansion in sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey and Europe.

Provost Joseph Steinmetz called the opening of the Brazil Gateway a "momentus step forward for the university. The Gateway is a true partnership with broad engagement from 14 colleges.... Without a doubt, this outpouring of support has allowed Ohio State to advance our core academic mission around the globe. It will be an embassy for the university in Brazil - a critical hub for Ohio State in the 21st century."

The Brazil Gateway will focus on a number of key initiatives: 1) scouting new study abroad opportunities; 2) recruiting new international students; 3) enhancing institutional connections for faculty research and the development of dual degree programs; 4) partnering with global businesses to create internships for Ohio State students; 5) serving as a funding source for grant and scholarship opportunities; and 6) networking with alumni.

Ohio State has been strategically engaged in Brazil for more than 50 years. Since 1964, Ohio State has maintained research and teaching collaborations with the University of São Paulo’s Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ/USP) in Piracicaba. Currently, Ohio State boasts more than 20 active faculty collaborations, six study abroad programs and two student exchange programs. Recently, Ohio State and the Brazil state of São Paulo signed an agreement that created a $1.4 million funding source to support research and innovation. The partnership encourages researchers at Ohio State and any university in the state of São Paulo to collaborate on studies that can help citizens in both countries and people around the world.

For more information about Ohio State's international activities, visit the following web pages:

International programs receive federal funding

Five of Ohio State’s international programs have been awarded more than $6.3 million in U.S. Department of Education funding for the next four years. These awards make Ohio State one of the few universities in the nation to receive federal funding to support multiple disciplines.

The Area Studies Centers, affiliated with the Office of International Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences, have been awarded $4.1 million in Title VI National Resource Center funding and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship grants. The East Asian Studies Center and the Center for Slavic and East European Studies have received funding for the 2014 - 2018 award period. The grants will be used by the Area Studies Centers to sponsor a wide range of academic activities, provide resources that stimulate new research opportunities and expand instructional initiatives, and conduct outreach activities.

Title VI National Resource Center grants are awarded to Area Studies Centers around the country to support foreign language, area, and international studies infrastructure. The support of these programs is an effort to ensure a steady supply of graduates with expertise in less commonly taught languages, world areas, and transnational trends. FLAS fellowship awards are granted to institutions of higher education to provide academic year- and summer-long fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students undergoing training in less commonly taught languages and related area or international studies. The Area Studies Centers were awarded $2.3 million to fund FLAS fellowships over the next four years.

The National East Asian Language Resource Center (NEALRC), part of Ohio State’s Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures, also has been awarded $729,000 to fund initiatives to increase learners’ abilities to master advanced levels of language and cultural competence. The Department of Education also announced that it had approved funding for $1.1 million for the Center for International Business and Research (CIBE), housed in the Fisher College of Business. CIBE provides a supportive framework for the development of international business teaching, outreach and research. Ohio State also will receive $106,976 to fund Fulbright-Hays fellowships.

Annual Title VI grants were awarded as follows:

  • East Asian Studies Center, $244,000
  • Center for Slavic and East European Studies, $210,000
  • National East Asian Languages Resource Center, $185,000
  • Fulbright-Hays, $106,976

Annual FLAS grants for the Area Studies Centers were awarded as follows:

  • East Asian Studies Center, $339,000
  • Center for Slavic and East European Studies, $250,500

Ohio State awarded $500,000 grant for Passport to India initiative

The Ohio State University is the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to serve as the lead administrator of the national Passport to India initiative, which seeks to increase the number and diversity of American college and university students studying abroad and interning in India by 2020. The program was launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011 to create a hub for U.S.-India higher education partnerships and to develop a stronger bond between the youth of both countries by increasing American student mobility.

Ohio State will partner with IndoGenius, a Delhi-based organization established to enhance international interactions with India through education and research. Ohio State and IndoGenius will implement several strategies over the next five years which include advocacy, fundraising and building relationships in order to increase the number of students studying or interning in India. According to the latest figures released by the Institute of International Education, of the more than 280,000 American students that studied abroad during the 2011-12 academic year, 4,593 selected India as their destination.

“With India’s growing economy it is critical for our future leaders to understand India’s cultural, historic and economic importance in world affairs,” said William Brustein, vice provost for global strategies and international affairs. “Engaging young Americans to experience the depth and breadth of India firsthand will only produce stronger U.S.-India relations. For Ohio State to take a leadership role in this transformative process is an exciting and important opportunity.”

The proposal calls for an in-depth analysis of U.S. higher education study abroad practices to identify current trends and challenges within the field; creation of a digital platform with an enhanced web and social media presence; development of an online course to educate American students on the importance of India; attend higher education conferences and corporate forums to promote Passport to India and raise funding support; and host a series of events to spark dialogue on U.S.-India relations and the need for increased student mobility.

“India is relevant to American students of all backgrounds and interests,” said Nick Booker, Co-Founder of IndoGenius. “Our forthcoming MOOC will demonstrate how India’s economic and civilizational re-emergence has renewed the importance of India. Take any of the grand challenges faced by the world today and if you can innovate a solution that works in India it can work anywhere.”

Ohio State has a long history of collaborating with institutions in India and recently opened a Global Gateway office in Mumbai in 2012 to facilitate learning, teaching and research opportunities.


Global Buckeyes alumni spotlight: Jared Psigoda

Jared PsigodaI graduated from Ohio State in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese and Japanese, and a Master’s inChinese through the Chinese Flagship Program.

I chose Ohio State because it was close to home, but it enabled me to reach further in distance and aptitude. After studying one year of Chinese at Ohio State, my instructors recommended me to participate in an elementary study abroad program in Qingdao. I participated in the Chinese Flagship Program’s study abroad portion which included both language-focused classes as well as normal Chinese graduate course study where we were allowed to choose which subjects we wanted to study. I also participated in several internship programs arranged by Ohio State, the most memorable of which was my volunteering with the Qingdao Olympic Committee for the sailing portion of the 2008 Olympic Games in Qingdao.

After graduating I have stayed in China for the past several years. The language and work experience that my studies at Ohio State allowed me has been incredibly beneficial in my work life, which requires a deep understanding of Chinese culture. Experiencing another culture trains you to look at the world from an entirely new perspective. Learning a new language allows you to communicate with and learn about millions (or billions) of human beings that you previously would not have had an opportunity to come to understand. All in all, spending some time abroad allows you to become a more well-rounded person, which is essential to working in today’s global society. 

I absolutely believe students who have international experiences are more competitive in today’s job market. With the advancement of technology and ease of travel, the world is becoming a much smaller place. Individuals without cross-cultural knowledge and experience will not be competitive in a market where there are more and more individuals who have devoted a part of their life to learning about the world outside of their backyard. It makes more sense to hire a business development manager who is fluent in Chinese and understands Chinese culture rather than an employee without the Chinese knowledge and an interpreter. If I were to share, I would encourage you to get out there and experience the world! But for Ohio State, I would probably not be in China doing what I am doing now.


International scholar profile: Nizar Saad

What is your home country and city?

I come from Lebanon and I used to live in Byblos, an old Phoenician city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

What are your undergraduate/graduate degrees?

I hold a bachelor’s degree of biochemistry from the Lebanese University, a master’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology and a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Strasbourg in France.

What department are you in at Ohio State?

I work as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Microbiology.

What are your research/specialty interests?

I focus my research on the regulation of gene expression in bacteria. I try to understand how bacteria are capable of adapting to several environmental conditions and how we could benefit from this understanding in order to solve current health issues, such as bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

How has your time at Ohio State benefited your research/specialty interests?

The Ohio State University confers an incredible environment for career development through extensive workshops and seminars. At Ohio State I am able to participate in many workshops and seminars that are very helpful in building my scientific career. In addition, I have the opportunity to meet interesting people with high scientific knowledge, such as my mentor, from which I am still learning many important skills that pave the way for the development of my independent scientific career.

When did you arrive in the United States/Columbus?

I arrived in the United States in the spring of 2013.

Why did you choose Ohio State?

I chose to come to Ohio State because I was interested in having a research experience in the laboratory of Dr. Henkin. Dr. Henkin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and co-winner of the National Academy of Sciences Pfizer Prize in Molecular Biology for her work on riboswitch RNAs. Dr. Henkin is famous for uncovering the riboswitch system that control gene expression by directly sensing physiological signals, such as metabolites availability. Dr. Henkin has outstanding experience in bacterial genetics and in studying non-coding RNA in bacteria.

What did you do at Ohio State as part of your time here (research, etc.)?

Concerning my work at The Ohio State University, my full time is dedicated to research. In my lab, I also had the opportunity to supervise an undergraduate student. In addition, when I have free time, my wife and I always try to participate in some scientific, cultural and social events organized by the Ohio State and the Office of International Affairs. Moreover, whenever it is possible, my wife and I travel to visit other cities in Ohio and in the U.S.A. and Canada.

What most surprised you about your experience in Columbus and the United States?

I was mostly surprised by the people's enthusiasm and their dedication and love for sports. Most of the people that I met in Columbus were friendly, helpful and proud of their American culture, without being disrespectful to other cultures. These characteristics of the American society made me feel comfortable and pushed me to learn more about its traditions and habits.

What was the hardest thing to adapt to during your time living in Columbus?

Driving long distances to reach grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and theaters was hard at the beginning, especially when you live far from Columbus downtown and the High Street campus area. Thank God, gas prices were always low and this is a blessing in U.S.A.!

What is the most fun/exciting thing you did during your time at Ohio State?

I am a basketball fan and I used to play for a couple of years for the basketball team in Byblos. Therefore, the most exciting thing was attending, for the first time, an NBA game during the last NBA season. It was the Los Angeles Lakers playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers! The game was very exciting as well as the stadium ambiance; especially when the LA Lakers won the game! It is an unforgettable experience as I am a LA Lakers fan.

How did the Office of International Affairs help you adapt to campus life?

Even before coming to the U.S.A., the Office of International Affairs was very helpful, in preparing all the necessary papers, and forms that I needed for the visa application and for joining the Department of Microbiology. Even now, I am sure that the Office of International Affairs will handle any issue that I face quickly and professionally. Moreover, … I was able to meet new people and participate in several social events that were organized by the Office of International Affairs.


Orientation welcomes new international students to Ohio State

Ohio State welcomed more than 1,600 international students to campus in August 2014.  The students came from around the world to pursuetheir undergraduate, graduate, professional and doctoral degrees. After autumn check-in, the number of enrolled international students hit a record high of 6,178, a 2.3 percent increase from the previous autumn semester.

The Office of International Affairs provided numerous resources and programs to welcome students and prepare them for autumn semester. Students participated in an orientation session that provided essential information about campus safety, academic conduct, immigration and cultural adjustments. To view the orientation presentations and materials, visit oia.osu.edu.

So that international students easily adapted to life on campus and the United States, the student Welcome Team and the student Orientation Leaders offered their help by answering questions, assisting with the check-in process and leading social activities such as, group dinners, campus tours and trips to local attractions.

These student workers helped lead events around Columbus, and they also served as the representatives at two welcome booth locations: Port Columbus International Airport and the Ohio Union. These locations served as a resource for students to seek information about check-in, transportation and housing. The Airport Welcome Program offered free airport shuttles to campus five times a day during the five weeks of orientation.

To help with this year’s expanded check-in and orientation process, a Guidebook mobile application was created. This guide provided access to important information including a calendar of events, campus maps, interactive photo albums, office contact information and other ways to connect to the Office of International Affairs through social media. Over a four-week period of time, more than 1,400 people accessed the Guidebook, either through a mobile device or through the application’s webpage.


Ohio State hosts Health Sciences Innovation Conference in Mumbai - January 2015

Ohio State will host its first Health Sciences Innovation Conference in Mumbai, India on January 15 – 18, 2015. Nobel Laureate Professor Luc Montagnier, discoverer of HIV, will present a keynote lecture.

The focus of the conference will be India’s rapidly growing biotech and health sciences industry with the goal of developing strategic partnerships between Ohio State faculty and other Indian academic institutions. The All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the country’s top public health care and research institution, will partner with Ohio State in hosting this conference. As part of this partnership, a two-day workshop on Regenerative Medicine will be hosted by AIIMS at New Delhi on January 12-13, 2015.

Chandan Sen, professor and associate dean in the College of Medicine, is chair of the organizing committee and William Brustein, vice provost for global strategies and international affairs, is serving as co-chair. The Ohio State India Gateway will provide support for the conference in-country.

For more information and to register for this event, please visit the Health Sciences Innovation Conference website.


Study abroad profile: Wedad Shafi

Wedad Shafi, a neuroscience major, studied abroad in Guatamala as part of the Guatemala Service Adventure program.

“Over spring break, I participated in a service adventure trip through Buck-I-SERV and the Outdoor Adventure Center. I spent 10 days in Guatemala with complete strangers that turned into family. During the first three days, we backpacked through the rugged volcanic mountain ranges. The next few days were spent doing various service projects, like planting in a community garden, painting a mural and teaching English to schoolchildren. This was my first time abroad and it was probably the most incredible experience of my life. I cannot wait to return to this beautiful country and have more adventures.”


Study abroad profile: Eric Vinyard

Eric Vinyard, an exploration major, studied abroad in England as part of the London Honors program.

“My reasoning to study abroad was to explore the world to a further extent than what I had so far. I wanted to meet different people and further experience what it is like to connect with other people from another culture, while strengthening the bond that I created with the friends that I made through the program. I love connecting with people, and I have realized that traveling with others is one of the best ways to truly forge a bond with another person.

I am not sure if I can choose a favorite memory. Since photography is a hobby of mine a highlight of the trip for me was going to Oxford. It was especially exciting for me because I was able to take a lot of artistic styled photographs. The architectural style of Oxford was perfect for it."