U-M tops the Big Ten in students studying overseas


The University of Michigan has the most students studying abroad among the Big Ten universities and is fifth in the nation among higher education institutions, according to a new report.

The university had 2,714 U.S. students in 144 countries earning credit in education-abroad programs in 2014-15, according to the annual Open Doors report by the Institute of International Education, a New York-based nonprofit.

“We are thrilled to once again see our students so engaged with the world. Their work spans the globe from Finland to Ethiopia, from Ghana to Korea, from Canada to Chile,” said James Holloway, vice provost for global engagement and interdisciplinary academic affairs.

“The students learn and grow intellectually, professionally and personally from these encounters with difference, and they bring the Michigan ethos of humility, collaboration and service wherever they go.”

Although the highly regarded 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, the university had 4,377 students overseas in 2014-15 — almost double the number in the Open Doors report.

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

Safety is always a key concern for all of U-M’s international travelers, and U-M has a professional staff to assess security situations worldwide, advise students about risks before they depart and stay 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 2.8 percent to 7,630 in 2014-15, placing U-M 14th overall in the size of its international student population. Of these, 56 percent were graduate students, 24 percent were undergraduates, and 16 percent were engaged in post-degree practical training.

“Our faculty and staff deserve lots of credit for all the work they do to get our students abroad,” Holloway said. “Not only do they do this work for our students, but many are also involved in national and international organizations that help students across the U.S. engage internationally.”


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