UW–Madison ranks ninth nationally in study abroad participation

The University of Wisconsin–Madison ranks ninth among U.S. universities and colleges in the number of students who studied abroad in 2012-13, with 2,157 students earning academic credit outside of the United States, according to the 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. This marks the eighth consecutive year that UW–Madison has been among the top ten.

Also, UW-Madison ranks 22nd among peer institutions in the total number of international students hosted in 2013-14, with 5,718, according the Open Doors Report, published by the Institute of International Education, the nation’s leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization. The annual report is released in conjunction with the start of International Education Week (November 17-21), a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education.

“These rankings speak to the importance we at UW–Madison place on the role of international experiences in student development,” says Dan Gold, director of International Academic Programs (IAP), which offers the largest number of study abroad programs at the university.

“The vast array of locations, subjects, and program models – from language immersion to fieldwork with a UW professor to internships to independent research – make study abroad relevant for all, as we strive to break down the barriers, financial and otherwise, to enable more students to participate,” Gold says.

In 2012-13 study abroad participation by program duration, UW–Madison is fourth among all institutions nationally for long-term (academic or calendar year) study abroad (144 participants) and sixth for mid-length (semester) program participation (1,074 participants) – leading the Big Ten in both categories.

“We are particularly proud that Madison leads all public research universities in semester and year-long study abroad participation,” Gold says. “Those programs, along with a range of offerings during the summer, winter session, and spring break, ensure that students can find international opportunities that match their personal and academic interests.”

Nationally, the number of U.S. students studying abroad in 2012-13 totaled 289,408, up from 283,332 the previous year.

Here are some facts about UW–Madison study abroad participants in 2012-13:

  • They studied in 82 countries on six continents, with more than 53% going to Europe. The most popular destinations were Spain (264), China (202), United Kingdom (194), Italy (192), and France (118). Nationally, the same countries topped the list, although in a different order: United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and China.
  • They represent a variety of fields and majors:social sciences (589), business (525), foreign languages (321), physical/life sciences (308), health sciences (176), humanities (162), engineering (151), international studies (126), mass communications/journalism (108), communication arts (87), human ecology (81), education (65), agriculture (61), fine/applied arts (41), math/computer sciences (32), and law (22).
  • They included 958 seniors, 745 juniors, 125 sophomores, five freshmen, and 320 students in graduate or professional programs.
  • Nearly two thirds of them were female – 64% to 36% males – which mirrors the national ratio for study abroad participation. The fall 2012 campus student population was 51.2% female and 48.8% male.
  • Most of them (2,021) went through programs administered by International Academic Programs or other campus programs.

The Open Doors Report also includes figures on international students at U.S. institutions in 2013-14.

Recent years have seen a steady increase in the number of non-U.S. students at UW–Madison. The 5,718 international students reported in 2013-14 compares to 5,291 in 2012-13 and 4,840 the previous year.

“The growth in international students at UW–Madison for this year has occurred both at the graduate and the undergraduate level,” says Laurie Cox, assistant dean and director of International Student Services.

“International students make a significant contribution to the classroom experience by sharing their ideas, experiences and cultural values,” Cox says. “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 in 2013-14 are, in order, China, South Korea, India, the Taiwan region, and Malaysia.

Nationally, U.S. institutions hosted 886,052 international students in 2013-14, up from 819,644 the previous year.

China is the leading country of origin for students studying in the United States, with 274,439, up from 235,597 the previous year, according to the latest Open Doors Report. Rounding out the top five are India (102,673), South Korea (68,047), Saudi Arabia (53,919) and Canada (28,304).

– by Kerry G. Hill