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U-M jumps to No. 6 in study abroad ranking

November 17, 2014
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ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan climbed four spots to No. 6 in an annual ranking of higher education institutions with the most students studying abroad in 2012-13.

The university had 2,365 students studying overseas for academic credit in 2012-13, a 15-percent increase from 2,060 in the previous period, according to the Open Doors Report by the Institute of International Education, a New York-based nonprofit.

“In today’s globalized world, it’s incredibly important for our students to have a worldview that extends beyond their local communities,” said James Holloway, U-M vice provost for global and engaged education. “Education abroad experiences help students learn skills fundamental to success in the 21st century, to be risk takers, to be creative, to communicate with those very different from themselves, to be resourceful and persistent.”

In the Open Doors report released two years ago, U-M was ranked No. 16 on the education abroad list.

Students at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. (Credit: Sara Becker)

Students at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. (Credit: Sara Becker)

“This growth is really a testament to the incredible work of our education abroad professionals,” Holloway said. “Through both data systems like M-Compass and organizational systems like our Council on Global Engagement, we have been able to efficiently provide more students with the tools needed to explore and pursue education abroad opportunities.”

Some U-M units been able to develop programs that scale to 20, 30 or even 50 students at a time, and to repeat these programs year-after-year, providing students with the consistency they need for planning, the vice provost added.

The impressive growth also reflected U-M’s efforts to encourage and support more students who want to have international educational experiences. Raising money for education abroad scholarships has been a key goal of the ongoing Victors for Michigan campaign, which aims to raise $4 billion.

New York University topped the list with 4,274 students abroad, while Michigan State University place just ahead of U-M with 2,514 students. Ohio State University was just below U-M with 2,255.

The Open Doors report only reflects students on education abroad experiences that result in academic credit. In addition to those 2,365 students, U-M had more than 1,000 students abroad on co-curricular experiences such as work, research and project experiences.

Although the size of U-M’s international student body grew by 6.5 percent in 2013-14, the university dropped from No. 8 to No. 11 in the ranking of schools hosting the most international students, the report said. U-M had 7,273 students from abroad in 2013-14, compared to 6,827 in the previous period.

The Open Doors’ figures for study abroad traditionally lag a year behind those for the international study body.

“The international student presence on our campus is very important,” Holloway said. “It creates a more globalized community here in Ann Arbor, which benefits all of our students through the mingling of perspectives and the opportunities created for each of us to have our cultural assumptions challenged.”

Holloway added that “many of our international graduate students also remain in the United States after graduation and contribute greatly to the U.S. economy.”

New York University was ranked No. 1 with 11,164 international students, while Michigan State University was No. 9 with 7,704.

The 2014 Open Doors Report is available at www.iie.org/opendoors.


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