Record numbers of University of Wisconsin-Madison students are earning some of their academic credit abroad, an increase that exceeds the national average. What’s more, they are choosing to study in previously non-traditional destinations such as China and India.
According to the Open Doors report, released this week by the Institute of International Education (IIE), among all U.S. research institutions for the 2008-09 academic year, UW-Madison ranks fourth and sixth for semester and yearlong programs, respectively. UW-Madison ranks eighth for overall study abroad participation, the same ranking as the previous year, with 2,230 total participants. Moreover, UW-Madison students received credit for study in 70 countries on all seven continents.
In all, 0.6 percent more UW-Madison students went abroad in 2008-09 than in 2007-2008. Nationally, the number of Americans studying abroad decreased by 0.8 percent.
“We are especially encouraged to be placing once again so well in the mid- and yearlong study abroad programs,” says Robert Howell, director of International Academic Programs, the largest and central study abroad office on campus. “While short-term programs offer valuable, accessible international opportunities, we at UW-Madison emphasize longer stints abroad whenever possible.”
Consistent with national trends, European countries dominate the top five most popular destinations for UW-Madison students. Third on UW-Madison’s list is China, with 191 students, a significant increase of 7.3 percent for a one-year period. China is in fifth place nationwide for desired destination.
“I’m thrilled to see that our students recognize how important it is to understand the economic and cultural impact of China and other emerging regional powers in today’s world,” says Gilles Bousquet, dean of the Division of International Studies and vice provost of globalization. “We hope to make China our students’ most popular study abroad destination in the next few years.”
UW-Madison has also remained in the top 20 research universities for numbers of international students enrolled, hosting more than 4,312 students from more than 100 countries in 2008-09.
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