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New survey shows Floridans are concerned about study abroad programs

Posted at 11:22 PM, Oct 20, 2016

A new survey suggests a majority of Floridians do not believe colleges and universities in our state should support study abroad programs in areas with "known terrorist activity".

The USF Nielsen survey states 76 percent of Floridians do not like the idea of studying overseas. Some students disagree with the results of the survey.

"I'm not really worried about terrorist attacks there, just as I'm not worried about them here," USF student Nicholas Grass said.

According to Dr. Roger Brindley, USF System Vice President for USF World, the university approved 70 programs this past year to western Europe, Latin and South America, and to the far East. Over the past 4 years, the university says they have seen a 42 percent increase in students studying abroad.

"What we don't do is we won't say to our students, you should not go into the world," Dr. Brindley said.

Dr. Brindley said they plan months in advance before sending students and staff abroad. In the last 3 years, they hired two International Risk and Security Officers whose jobs are to advise them about safety tips and concerns.

"We have had students in locations where there has been terrorist activity and we know our system works," Dr. Brindley said.

Dr. Brindley said a new policy students must follow is obtaining international student health and insurance.

"We're really trying to take care that students travel safely," Dr. Brindley said.

On the flip side, Dr. Brindley said the number one question they receive from international students interested in studying in the United States is how close they are to areas like Orlando, San Bernardino, and Ferguson.

"They don't really understand the distances in the United States and they're really looking for the same kind of assurance coming to this country as we seek to give our students, who are studying abroad," Dr. Brindley said.

If you would like to see the results of the entire survey, which includes other questions, you can go to http://sunshinestatesurvey.org.