The University of Virginia moved up a dozen slots to 12th in the nation for the total number of students studying abroad in credit-bearing activities, according to a new assessment by the Institute of International Education.
In its annual assessment, “Open Doors on International Educational Exchange,” the institute also found that UVA moved from No. 32 to No. 24 among the nation’s doctoral-granting universities for the percentage of students who have an education-abroad experience during their undergraduate careers. UVA also jumped from No. 11 to No. 7 for the number of students in programs of short duration.
The Open Doors assessment is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State.
The report also found that international students and scholars who are studying at UVA are a major driver of Virginia’s economy. The analysis estimated the annual contribution of international students and scholars to Virginia’s economy to be $711 million, up from $688 million in the previous report.
Stephen Mull, UVA’s vice provost for global affairs, said these strides demonstrate UVA’s increasing international presence, “which in turn will make the University an even more competitive destination for international students, as well as among the growing number of American students who seek out international education as an important, transformative part of their higher education.”
Mull said it is also important to note that UVA continues to thrive in this arena despite an atmosphere in which political rhetoric often discourages global engagement.
“The greater engagement with the world that these statistics signify will contribute to more international research opportunities for UVA, a greater alumni and donor network, and will improve our understanding of the world and the challenges we face,” he said.
For current and prospective students, Mull said the report shows that UVA offers a rich and transformative experience, both through an enhanced international experience abroad as well as contacts with other cultures on Grounds.
“Students with more international experience demonstrably perform higher in intellectual achievement, interpersonal skills and in having an impact on the world,” he said. “Students with more international contacts and experience do better at acquiring education and skills that are necessary for success in an increasingly globalized world.”
Dudley Doane, the director of UVA’s International Studies Office, said several things are helping to grow international experiences for UVA students, and to attract international scholars. “Curriculum integration and the integration of overseas learning opportunities into majors, minors, general education requirements and degree programs are key drivers in UVA students’ rising participation in education abroad,” he said.
Faculty-led programs and faculty and staff dedication to increasing awareness of study-abroad opportunities also drive up numbers, he said.
UVA has recently added attractive new study-abroad options to its inventory, including a fall-semester engineering track in UVA’s popular program in Valencia. The McIntire School of Commerce recently added a collaborative degree program that divides study among the United States, Spain and China. And the School of Architecture has committed to facilitating a global education experience for every student.
“Faculty and staff from across the University work hard to make UVA the school of choice for top students from around the world,” Doane said.