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Last modified: Friday, November 9, 2012

Open Doors report: More students studying abroad; international students see IU as a top university

Nov. 12, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University remains one of the most internationally engaged academic institutions in the United States, both in terms of student enrollment and study abroad activities, according to the latest Open Doors report released today by the Institute of International Education.

Among more than 1,200 U.S. universities, IU Bloomington now ranks seventh, up from eighth in last year's report, in overall number of students studying abroad and continues to rank 11th in the number of international students enrolled.

According to the Open Doors 2012 data, a new record of 2,203 IU Bloomington students enrolled in study abroad programs during the 2010-11 academic year.

When all education abroad activity from all IU campuses is factored in, more than 3,000 IU students enhanced their studies with international experience. The report comes at a time when IU's Office of Overseas Study is celebrating its 40th anniversary and IU President Michael A. McRobbie has placed increased emphasis on the university's international engagement through growth in institutional partnerships and alumni relationships outside the United States.

Today, one fourth of all graduating seniors at IU Bloomington have had an international experience during their time at the university. The School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2010-11 saw a 69 percent increase in number of students studying abroad, bringing its rate of participation to 25 percent, joining peers at the Kelley School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Journalism, where participation rates exceed 25 percent.

The Bloomington campus hosted 6,123 international students on campus in 2011-12. A total of 7,911 international students studied at IU campuses, including 1,509 at its other core research campus in Indianapolis.

"These latest rankings reflect Indiana University's continued engagement worldwide. It is only appropriate that this news comes at a time when IU is entering into new partnership agreements with leading academic institutions in Latin America and elsewhere, which will result in increased study abroad opportunities for IU students," said McRobbie, who is wrapping up an eight-day visit to Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

Michael McRobbie

IU President Michael A. McRobbie

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"We are extremely pleased that while IU Bloomington remains a leader in both study abroad activities and in international student enrollment, it is also gratifying that more and more students from every IU campus are adding an international dimension to their studies," McRobbie added. "More than ever, it is an essential component to their future personal and career success."

McRobbie added that IU's new School of Global and International Studies will play an integral role in IU's continued success, adding that students will be better prepared for the global marketplace after graduation. A primary aim for the new school will be to expand the opportunities for international education for all students, including greater foreign language proficiencies, better understanding of how societies are developing worldwide and deeper knowledge of globalization.

The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange is published annually by the Institute of International Education with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The 2012 report data for U.S. students studying abroad reflect the 2010-11 academic year, while data for international students enrolled in U.S. institutions were collected for the 2011-12 academic year.

"For a university to be truly international and global, it must excel on many levels," said David Zaret, vice president for international affairs. "Two measures of the global reach of IU students are study abroad activity and the number of international students on campus. As the Open Doors figures indicate, IU ranks near the top in both areas. In fact, IU's composite ranking places it sixth among U.S. institutions. Never before have IU students brought or gained the breadth of international experience that these numbers reflect."

Kathleen Sideli, associate vice president for overseas study, has worked with IU study abroad students for more than 30 years. She has been following study abroad trends closely and is particularly pleased that a significant percentage of the IU graduating class has had a study abroad experience.

"While IU has made international experiences available to students for decades, today we find that students across a range of academic disciplines understand that international education is relevant and integral to their degree progress as well as to their future careers," Sideli said. "They also seek diverse program opportunities -- almost half participating in programs outside Western Europe, accessing different program models than those available even just a few years ago."

In 2011-12, 44 new study abroad programs in 32 countries were approved by the IU Office of Overseas Study; 28 of those programs are at IU Bloomington alone. Among them, SPEA has developed new study abroad opportunities in Croatia, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania and Spain. The journalism school launched a new program on media and culture in China.

David Zaret

Photo by Peter Stevenson

David Zaret

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A program created by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese immerses students in the culture of the Dominican Republic. The program features a service learning component and a visit to a pirate shipwreck discovered and preserved by IU's own Underwater Science program.

Sideli noted an area of particular strength at IU: "We're also ranked seventh nationally for the number of students on semester-length programs. This is quite an accomplishment, given the trend toward students spending shorter time periods abroad."

According to the Open Doors report, international student enrollment at colleges and universities in the U.S. grew by 5.7 percent from fall 2010 to fall 2011, to a record 764,321 students.

Following national trends, the largest percentage of international students continues to come from East Asia and China in particular. Many students also come from India.

"At IU Bloomington alone, international students come from 116 countries and from all regions of the world," said Christopher Viers, associate vice president for international services. "These bright and adventurous students choose IU over hundreds of other universities and travel thousands of miles away for our wide range of challenging academic disciplines and some of the world's leading professors. They do so in pursuit of their educational and professional dreams and goals, and because they recognize the importance of international education and the exceptional quality and value of an IU degree. And once they're back in their home countries, they direct others here."

Higher numbers of international students were seen across the United States, with most states hosting higher numbers of students in 2010-11, as indicated by the Open Doors data. Perennial leaders California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois remained as the top five hosts.

Among the top 10 host states, Indiana had the highest increase of 10.4 percent, followed by Florida, with a 9.6 percent increase; and Pennsylvania, 9.5 percent. Other states in the top 10 only saw increases between 3.6 and 7 percent. Texas actually had a 0.2 percent drop in the number of international students.

New international student enrollment increased by 6.5 percent in 2011 over the previous year. The increase in international students has had a significant economic impact in the United States. With higher education among the nation's largest service-sector exports, international students contribute more than $20 billion to the U.S. economy in tuition, fees and living expenses; and $688.1 million in the state of Indiana alone.

The Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States, has conducted an annual statistical survey of campuses regarding international students in the United States since 1919, and with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since the early 1970s.

The Open Doors 2012 report is available at the Institute of International Education's website.