Penn State ranks 12th among study abroad programs

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State's University Park campus was ranked 12th among U.S. doctorate-granting universities with the most students studying abroad in 2006-07, according to the 2008 Open Doors report published annually by the Institute of International Education.

According to the report released Monday (Nov. 17), 1,830 Penn State students attending University Park were studying abroad. However, for the first time, the report listed separate figures for Penn State students at other locations, therefore the total for the entire University stands at 2,183 students studying abroad, slightly ahead of the 2,168 total in last year's report.

Penn State students at 11 other campuses also are actively studying abroad: Abington (26), Altoona (27), Berks (47), Brandywine (29), DuBois (15), Erie (91), Harrisburg (48), Mont Alto (10), New Kensington (20), Worthington-Scranton (17), and York (23).

However, the University's study abroad programs are just one part of its overall internationalization vision for the 21st century.

"Our vision is for all Penn State students to think globally while acting locally, and for Penn State to attain global leadership in scholarship and international engagements," says Michael Adewumi, vice provost for international programs. "The ultimate outcome is global citizenship for our students and global leadership for Penn State.

 "To further Penn State's goal of internationalizing the University, we must partner with academic departments and faculty members in order to continually increase enrollment in study abroad programs," Adewumi notes. "However, in doing so, we must place a particular focus on diversifying the types of students who study abroad. Not only should more diverse majors be represented (such as engineering and science), but Penn State should also encourage the participation of a greater number of minority and low-income students.

"Finally, we must greatly diversify the geographic locations of our study abroad portfolio to include less-traveled geographical areas such as Africa, South America, South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia, and the Middle East," he added. "Encouraging greater diversity in our study abroad programs will ultimately serve to create more well-rounded and internationally-savvy global citizens."

Currently, the College of the Liberal Arts is the most highly enrolled program (26 percent), with Smeal College of Business (25 percent), coming in second and the Colleges of Communications and Health and Human Development in a tie for third (9 percent). Also, statistics show the most popular location for study abroad is Europe, with 75 percent of students, Australia/New Zealand (9 percent) and Asia (7 percent).

Nationwide, the Open Doors 2008 report says that the number of Americans studying abroad increased by 8 percent to a total of 241,791 in the 2006-07 academic year. This latest increase marks a decade of growth from under 100,000 in 1996-97 to nearly a quarter of a million in 2006-07.

New York University remained the leading institution with 3,034 students abroad, followed by Michigan State University at 2,801 and University of Texas at Austin at 2,172.

Other ranked Big Ten schools that are part of the academic Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) are University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (2,079), University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, (2,055), University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2,052), University of Wisconsin-Madison (1,846), Indiana University-Bloomington (1,686).

The Open Doors report coincides with Penn State's annual observation of International Education Week 2008. The featured event is an IEW Celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 1 to 4 pm at Heritage Hall in the HUB. This event will feature an International Opportunities Fair with opportunities for volunteering and working abroad, food for the first 500 attendees, and international performances.

Other IEW week events include: cultural lunches, a noontime international music series, a world poetry reading, and various information sessions. More information is at: http://www.international.psu.edu/

The Institute of International Education is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes closer educational relations between the people of the United States and other countries. The Open Doors report is published annually by IIE with funding from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The full report is at: http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/
 

Last Updated March 19, 2009