U-M is top Big Ten school for students studying abroad


The University of Michigan has the most students studying abroad among Big Ten universities and is fourth in the nation among higher education institutions.


The university had 3,130 U.S. students in 139 countries earning credit in education-abroad programs in 2017-18 — 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.

“Thanks to the efforts of our faculty and staff members across campus, the U-M has one of the most diverse international program portfolios in the country,” said Amy Conger, associate vice provost for global engagement.

“Learning in a different cultural setting enables students to explore new perspectives on problem solving, practice critical thinking and refine communication skills. All of these abilities are critical for success — both at U-M and after graduation.”

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 educational experiences, such as internships, volunteer projects, research and performances.

Including these students in the total education-abroad tally, U-M had 5,427 students overseas in 2017-18 — 2,297 more students than in the Open Doors report.

“This past year, 36 percent of our graduating bachelor’s degree class pursued educational programs abroad,” Conger said. “This growth not only reflects increasing student interest, but also the work of our colleagues who advise, provide scholarships and ensure that students from all backgrounds are able to participate.”

The U.S. institution with the most students studying abroad was New York University, followed by Texas A&M University and the University of Texas.

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 8,726 students in 2018-19, placing U-M 15th overall in the size of its international student population.

“I am pleased to see the international population at U-M continuing to increase our ranking on Open Doors,” said Judith Pennywell, director of the U-M International Center. “Their continued presence in our classrooms and community helps to ensure that all U-M graduates are prepared to thrive in a globally interconnected world.”


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