The University of Iowa says the number of students who studied in other countries increased by over seven percent last year. Janis Perkins is the director of the Office for Study Abroad at the U-of-I. Perkins says the war in Iraq and anti-American sentiment expressed by other countries haven’t deterred students — it has instead piqued their interest. She says it’s help them develop an awareness and a need to know about other cultures. She says the study abroad numbers have increased nationwide, so this appears to be a trend. Perkins says the world situation hasn’t caused the university to change the way it treats the program. She says in general they give the same advice to students, they just stress it a little more. Perkins says it comes down to common sense and that doesn’t change over time. Perkins says the students who have gone abroad haven’t reported any problems in they way they’ve been received.She says the students found there’s a lot of hostility toward the United States as an entity itself, but very little toward the individual Americans. And she says there’s an understanding that the students who study abroad are the best the America has to offer as they’re interested in studying the rest of the world. The top countries for study abroad last year were the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Australia and Italy. Perkins says they do keep students away from danger areas. She says they would not allow students to go to any “hotbeds” and if there were any State Department Warnings, they would not allow students to study there. Perkins says it would be nice if the political problems didn’t keep students from visiting the Middle East. She says there could be a great deal of interest in studying in places like Israel, even Iran and Iraq, but she says those places are off limits. Perkins says the recent SARS scare in China was a nonpolitical event that prevented students from traveling abroad.
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