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U-M again among leaders in sending students overseas

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 Lauren Birks served in Costa Rica as a youth development volunteer on behalf of the School of Social Work. Image courtesy Lauren Birks. Lauren Birks served in Costa Rica as a youth development volunteer on behalf of the School of Social Work. Image courtesy Lauren Birks

ANN ARBOR—For the fifth straight year, the University of Michigan ranks in the top 10 among higher education institutions with the most students studying abroad, according to a new report.

The university is sixth in the nation with 2,801 U.S. students in 127 countries earning credit in education-abroad programs in 2015-16—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.

"Through international engagement, our students develop a number of abilities that are critical for their development as future citizens and contributors to society," said James Holloway, U-M vice provost for global engagement and interdisciplinary academic affairs. "They learn to be more creative, flexible and responsible actors in the world."


2,801 U.S. students in 127 countries, earning credit in education-abroad programs in 2015-16Although 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, the university had 4,697 students overseas in 2015-16—nearly double the number in the Open Doors report.

"We are excited that so many of our Michigan students are able to have an international experience," Holloway said. "These experiences are critical learning opportunities that cannot be replaced by on-campus or digital engagements, experiences that help them learn to connect with others who are very different from themselves, and help them discover how cultural values enter into the decisions we all make as human beings."

The institution with the most students studying abroad was New York University, followed by Texas A&M University, University of Southern California, University of Texas and Ohio State 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 6 percent to 8,163 in 2015-16, placing U-M 14th overall in the size of its international student population. Of these, 61 percent were graduate students, 25 percent were undergraduates, and 14 percent were engaged in post-degree practical training.

"We are proud of the work of our faculty and staff who support our students' experiences 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."

 

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