Giovanny Zapata, a senior health professions major, studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, this spring. There, he was in a class of 25 students — only five of whom were men.
“They said that was the most they’ve had in the past two years,” Zapata said. “So automatically, all the guys got so close in the program.”
The gender disparity had no effect on his time in Denmark, Zapata added.
“Because our program was about health care, we did talk about topics that were primarily female,” he said. “I had an opportunity to hear more about that stuff. But [gender] wasn’t a determining factor in your classes if you would have a good experience or anything, it was just the fact of the program.”
According to the Temple 2017-18 Factbook, 65 percent of students who participated in a study abroad program were women, making up 687 students out of the overall 1,053.
The figure was even more lopsided for Temple students participating in non-Temple programs, “external programs,” where women make up 75 percent of the total.
Nationwide, 67.3 percent of American students who studied abroad were women in 2016-17, according to Open Doors, which functions through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Alistair Howard, the assistant vice president for international affairs, said that he isn’t sure why more women study abroad than men, but he doesn’t believe stereotypes, like men being more unwilling to travel and leave their friends, are the cause.
“Some of the research on males studying abroad suggests that they like to see more of a connection,” Howard said. “I would say I’m not comfortable with any of these conclusions being tied to one gender or another. I know a lot of women interested in seeing what those tangible benefits are as well.”
“It’s a shame that more men don’t go abroad, but I don’t think it’s being seen as a severe problem,” he added.
Both Howard and Suzanne Willever, the manager of outreach and communications at the Department of Education Abroad and Overseas Campuses, said their office tends to focus on outreach to a wide variety of students, rather than just one gender.
“We do seek to encourage all students to study abroad and try to represent students from various backgrounds, whether that is socioeconomic, ethnic, racial or even major, by showcasing students from those backgrounds,” Willever said.
Adam Brock, a senior mechanical engineering major who studied abroad in Derry, Northern Ireland and Leipzig, Germany, said that he was taken aback when he saw that of 13 names advertised on a Temple study abroad blog, he was the only man.
“If that’s any representation of the ratio who study abroad than yeah, but I can’t say that I particularly felt ever on the programs like, ‘Wow, there’s more girls here than guys,’” Brock said.
Casey Tsou, a sophomore communications and social influence major, said that two-thirds of the students in her London study abroad program were women.
“I think guys are definitely underrepresented,” Tsou said. “I really didn’t notice it at all because I’m a girl until after the event. If I had been a guy, I would have felt it.”
Claire McGlinchey, a senior communications studies and environmental studies double major, said that only five or six out of the 22 students from her study abroad program in Arcosanti, Arizona, were men, and no men studied abroad with her in Paris, France.
“I think at this age young women are very much go-getters, they want to go out and see the world, and the men oftentimes want to go with their friends on a program,” McGlinchey said. “That’s a generalization, of course, it goes both ways. But it seems like maybe the women are more inclined to go.”
Allie Miller, the director of Klein GO, which offers study abroad programs through Klein College of Media and Communication, said that their office is partnering with Diamond Edge, a student run advertising agency, to try and create advertisements that will appeal to men.
“They want to see action, they want to see people doing things, so it’s also partially rebranding the way we’re showing study abroad,” Miller said.
“It can’t just be anymore about finding yourself, or exploring that study abroad started from languages and exchanges and things, it has evolved so much that there are way more opportunities now,” Miller added.