UW–Madison ranks sixth in study abroad participation

The University of Wisconsin–Madison ranked sixth among U.S. universities and colleges in the number of students studying abroad in 2011-12, with 2,149 students earning academic credit outside of the United States, according to the 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

Also, UW-Madison ranked 22nd among peer institutions in the total number of international students hosted in 2012-13, with 5,291, according the Open Doors Report, which is published by the Institute of International Education, the nation’s leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization.

In a breakdown of 2011-12 study abroad participation by program duration, UW–Madison ranked fifth among peer institutions nationally for long-term (academic or calendar year) study abroad (128) and fourth for mid-length (semester) program participation (1,102) – leading the Big Ten in both categories.

Also, 169 of the UW–Madison students who studied abroad that year earned academic credit in conjunction with an internship, volunteer or work abroad experience while overseas.

“We are delighted with UW-Madison’s standings in the latest Open Doors report.  Study abroad is truly a life-changing experience that has an incredible impact on students’ academic, professional, and personal development,” says Dan Gold, director of International Academic Programs (IAP), which offers the largest number of study abroad programs at the university.

Nationally, the number of U.S. students studying abroad in 2011-12 totaled 283,332, up from 273,996 the previous year. In 2010-11, UW–Madison was ranked 9th, with 2,159 students participating in study abroad programs offered by several campus units or in non-UW–Madison programs for which students received credit.

“These latest statistics demonstrate UW–Madison’s commitment to international education and encourage us as we continue to break down the barriers – financial and otherwise – to overseas opportunities for students,” Gold says. “We are focused on developing innovative programs that better train students from all majors and interests to thrive in today’s globalized world.”

Here are some facts about UW–Madison study abroad participants in 2011-12:

  • They studied in 85 countries on six continents. The most popular destinations were Spain (264), Italy (187), United Kingdom (178), China (177), and France (109). Nationally, the same countries topped the list, although in a different order: United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and China.
  • They represent a range of fields and majors across campus, including: social sciences (568), business (449), physical/life sciences (355), foreign languages (295), humanities (159), international studies (145), health sciences (139), engineering (121), communication arts (104), agriculture (84), human ecology (75), mass communications/journalism (74), education (58), fine or applied arts (46), math/computer science (18), and law (14).
  • The majority were seniors (1,187) and juniors (546); the total also includes 338 students in graduate or professional programs.
  • Nearly two thirds were female – 1,404 (65.3%), compared to 744 males (34.7%) – which mirrors the national trend. The campus student population is 51.3% female and 48.7% male.

The complete UW-Madison Campus-Wide Study Abroad Report for Academic Year 2011-12 is available online here.

The Open Doors Report also looks at international students at U.S. institutions in 2012-13.

Recent years have seen an increase in the number of non-U.S. students at UW–Madison. The 5,291 international students reported in 2012-13 compares to 4,840 reported in 2011-12 and 4,647 the previous year.

“The growth in international students at UW–Madison has largely been at the undergraduate level,” says Laurie Cox, assistant dean and director of International Student Services.  “This improvement in national ranking is occurring for the first time since 2008-09.”

Cox adds, “International students make a significant contribution to the classroom experience by sharing their ideas, experiences and cultural values. This is a big reason why so many of our students, both international and domestic, go on to become extraordinary global citizens.”

The leading countries/regions of origin for international students at UW–Madison are, in order, China, South Korea, India, Malaysia and the Taiwan region.

Nationally, China is the leading country of origin for students studying in the United States, with 235,597 in 2012-13, up from 194,029 the previous year, according to the Open Doors Report. India (96,754), South Korea (70,627), Saudi Arabia (44,566) and Canada (27,357) round out the top five.

— by Kerry G. Hill