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W&M remains a study-abroad leader

  • Broadened horizons
    Broadened horizons
    Participants in the W&M Summer 2012 Cadiz, Spain program enjoy the view together.
    Photo by Michelle Pillepich ’14

William & Mary has one of the highest percentages of undergraduates who participate in study-abroad programs, according to a study released by the Institute of International Education today.

The IIE's Open Doors 2012 Report on International Educational Exchange reveals that 38.1 percent of William & Mary undergraduates have participated in study-abroad programs by graduation. That percentage is the second-highest among public, doctorate institutions in the report, topped only by Miami University in Ohio at 40.9 percent.

“Today’s report from the Institute for International Education once again reaffirms William & Mary’s leading national role in the promotion of study abroad,” said Stephen E. Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center for International Studies.  “I expect that the percentage of undergraduates at our university who study overseas before graduation will only continue to rise in the years to come.”

When compared with private institutions, William & Mary remains a leader in study-abroad participation. With 570 undergraduate study-abroad participants in the 2010-11 academic year (including the summer of 2011), the university is listed at 26th on the report’s list of top 40 doctorate institutions. The University of San Diego tops the list with a study-abroad participation rate of 86.8 percent, followed by Pepperdine University (75.9 percent) and Wake Forest (72.3 percent).

William & Mary is only one of two Virginia institutions on the list, with the University of Virginia coming in at 40th with 30.4 percent.

William & Mary offers undergraduates many study-abroad opportunities through the Global Education Office (GEO) at the Reves Center for International Studies. The Global Education Office provides students information, support, and guidance on William & Mary-specific study abroad opportunities, exchanges with international universities, and programs sponsored by external providers. Interested students can attend study abroad workshops,  talk with peer advisors and participate in a variety of study abroad re-entry events through the GEO.

The Open Doors report is published annually by the IIE with funding from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The numbers contained in the 2012 report reflect study abroad conducted in the 2010-11 academic year.

During the 2010-11 academic year, 273,996 American students studied abroad for academic credit, an increase of one percent over the previous year and an all-time high, according to the report. The top destination for American study-abroad students remained the United Kingdom, followed by Italy, Spain, France and China. However, the report shows significant increases in the number of Americans studying in “non-traditional” destinations outside Europe, including Brazil, China, Costa Rica, India, and South Korea.

Along with study-abroad data, the report also looks at the number of international students studying in the United States. According to the report, new international student enrollment in the fall of 2011 increased 6.5 percent over 2010.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Ann Stock, assistant secretary of atate for educational and cultural affairs, in an IIE press release. “International education creates strong, lasting relationships between the U.S. and emerging leaders worldwide. Students return home with new perspectives and a global skill set that will allow them to build more prosperous, stable societies.”