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International Services

Kathy Sideli
Overseas Study

Last modified: Tuesday, November 18, 2008

IU Bloomington: More international than ever

Nov. 18, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Institute for International Education released its annual Open Doors report yesterday which shows Indiana University moving up in the rankings for international students enrolled and maintaining its top tier status for the number of students sent to study abroad.

IU Bloomington ranks 13th among U.S. colleges and universities for the number of international students enrolled. The ranking is based upon fall 2007 figures for international enrollment and advances IU by two spots from last year's 15th position.

Open Doors

IU also retains its leadership among universities sending students overseas. Based upon 2006-07 numbers, the survey ranks the Bloomington campus 19th overall among U.S. major research institutions. IU Bloomington is particularly strong in extended stays, ranking 11th in semester-long study abroad programs, and 20th in long-term study abroad programs.

The new survey figures also indicate that the state of Indiana ranks among the top ten U.S. states in which international students study. IU and Purdue University, two of the most popular enrollment destinations for international students, combine their respective 4,287 and 5,772 international students with substantial numbers at other universities and IU campuses -- including IUPUI's 1,199 -- in the state to contribute to the ranking. Purdue ranks fifth for international enrollment in the study.

Christopher Viers, associate vice president for international services, said that IU's advancement in international enrollment rankings is especially noteworthy because of the degree areas offered by IU and because competition among U.S. institutions for the best and brightest international students grows more intense every year.

"It is particularly gratifying that even though IU does not offer engineering -- which is the third most popular major among all international students -- we are able to attract so many of the world's most gifted students in this increasingly competitive arena," he said.

Growth in study abroad at IU has increased dramatically in the past 20 years, from a small number of programs for a few students to more than 200 programs today with approximately 1,972 students from the Bloomington campus studying abroad during the 2007-08 academic year. They have the option of programs in countries such as Azerbaijan, Egypt, Macedonia and Tanzania, as well as in those more traditional locations such as France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

"Ongoing efforts of IU faculty and staff have resulted in more students studying abroad each year, across a range of different programs -- year-long, semester, summer and short-term," said Kathleen Sideli, associate vice president for overseas study. "This diversity of program types allows students in every discipline to have an academic and intercultural experience integrated into their own curriculum. We're pleased at the increased number of students studying abroad, and we also are committed to ensuring that they are participating in high quality academic experiences."

Building and maintaining far reaching international programs to expand educational opportunities and experiences that create for students a sense of global community is increasingly important, said Patrick O'Meara, IU vice president for international affairs.

"The recent economic situation alone has shown us that we cannot escape our global interconnections," he said. "IU's increased international activity and presence help us and our students to understand that our future depends on embracing the global perspective."

The most popular majors for international students studying in Bloomington are business, followed by music and other visual and performing arts. South Korea and India send the most students, and with other East Asian countries, account for almost half of all international students in Bloomington.

IU students choose Western Europe most frequently for their study abroad experiences, though they also are following the national trend towards destinations in China, India and South America, areas that have seen a 20 percent increase nationally over the previous year.

The Institute for International Education has published its report, Open Doors, each year since 1949. IU's international efforts have perennially stood out and can be expected to continue both in enrolling international students and in sending students abroad.

Comparing the newly released survey numbers for 2007 fall enrollment of international students on the Bloomington campus, IU's most recent figures for fall 2008 show another 11 percent increase in international student enrollment. The 2007-08 numbers of IU students studying abroad also have increased by 17 percent over the 2006-07 data used in the Open Door survey reported yesterday.

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