A new report has named the University of Virginia one of the top 25 colleges sending students on study-abroad programs for the first time in school history.
The 2015 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange found the number of U.S. students studying abroad increased by 5 percent during the 2013-14 academic year, the highest rate of growth since before the 2008 economic downturn.
UVA is No. 24 on the list of schools sending students abroad. What is remarkable is that the University is joined on that list by schools more than twice its size; UVA had 21,500 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the 2013-14 year, and 1,794 studied abroad – one more than Arizona State University, which had an enrollment of just over 60,000.
The top three institutions in the report were New York University, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.
“We were excited to see student mobility increase by 12 percent from the previous year, and expect increases to continue as more faculty, students and families recognize the significant benefits associated with education abroad,” said Dudley Doane, director of UVA’s International Studies Office. “Students are clearly responding to the message they hear from University leaders and faculty, as well as business and civic leaders,” he said. “It’s not a matter of whether you will study abroad, but when.”
In an email exchange, she said her experience has had a pivotal influence on her future. “Without having the opportunity to study abroad, I would not have found my passion to travel the world and engage with students from different cultures,” she wrote. As a result, Heuchert said she wants to enter the field of international education after she graduates in May. (Read more about her experience on her blog, Back to Belfast.)
The Open Doors report is produced by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The annual report, drawing data from more than 300 colleges and universities, also found the number of international students studying in the United States was up 10 percent, to nearly 1 million, during the 2014-15 academic year – the highest rate of growth in 35 years. Students from India and Brazil showed the largest increases. (Read more findings here.)
UVA has been making major strides in global education and internationalization of the Grounds. In recognition of that, President Teresa A. Sullivan and the University will receive the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization on Tuesday at a ceremony in Washington.
“UVA students need to have a variety of international experiences, both curricular and extra-curricular, to prepare them for the diverse global economy that they will enter after graduation,” Sullivan said. “This prestigious award shows that we are moving in the right direction as we continue striving to make UVA a truly global university.”