The University of Michigan has the most students studying abroad among the Big Ten universities and is in the top three in the nation among higher education institutions, according to a new report.
The university is third in the nation with 3,214 U.S. students in 139 countries earning credit in education-abroad programs in 2016-17 — the most recent academic year with complete data — according to the annual Open Doors report by the Institute of International Education, a New York-based nonprofit.
“Education abroad provides students with opportunities to grow in many dimensions. Intercultural engagement is one, of course, and learning to work across and to value difference is vital in today’s world,” said James Holloway, vice provost for global engagement and interdisciplinary academic affairs.
“These experiences also help students develop other skills critical for success, such as creativity and self-agency.”
Although the Open Doors report is the most complete census of education abroad in the U.S., the study does not provide a total count of U-M students who have gone overseas.
Not included in the report — commissioned by the U.S. State Department — are students who are not U.S. citizens. Also excluded are those who go abroad for noncredit co-curricular activities, such as internships, volunteer projects, research and performances.
Including these students in the total education-abroad tally, U-M had 5,290 students overseas in 2016-17 — 2,076 more students than in the Open Doors report.
“It’s very exciting that last year nearly 45 percent of our graduating seniors reported having an international experience,” Holloway said. “These experiences are critical learning opportunities that cannot be replaced by other engagements.”
The institution with the most students studying abroad was New York University, followed by Texas A&M University.
Safety is a key concern for all of U-M’s international travelers, and the university assesses security situations worldwide, advises students about risks before they depart, and stays in close touch with them at their international sites.
U-M travelers are required to register their plans via an online system that supports emergency response abroad.
The report also looks at the size of the international student body at U.S. schools. The number of international students at U-M grew by 3.4 percent to 8,442 students in 2015-16, placing U-M 16th overall in the size of its international student population.
“Many offices and programs across all of our schools and colleges can help students find just the right opportunity for engagement abroad,” Holloway said. “They support courses, fieldwork, internships and projects all over the globe, and help ensure that these experiences are both safe and educational.”