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IU Bloomington ranks 5th nationally in number of students who studied abroad in 2018-19

For Immediate Release Dec 7, 2020
Two students in kayaks on a lake in Switzerland.
IU students kayak in Interlaken, Switzerland, during a previous study abroad trip.Photo courtesy of Anna Birchard.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University once again broke records in the 2018-19 academic year for the number of students who participated in study abroad programs, demonstrating the university’s continued commitment to providing students with an international perspective that gives them a strong advantage in an increasingly interconnected global economy.

IU Bloomington ranked fifth among more than 1,500 U.S. institutions that are ranked for the number of students studying abroad in 2018-19, according to the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. The campus ranking is up one spot from last year. This report, released each year by the Institute of International Education during International Education Week, is the only long-standing, comprehensive information resource on international students in the United States and on American students studying abroad.

“International understanding and engagement have long been at the heart of an IU education, and our study abroad programs continue to be a central part of the college experience for thousands of IU students,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “Collectively, they represent one of IU’s most impressive achievements of the modern era, enhancing the education of IU students from all backgrounds concerning the cultures and civilizations of other countries and contributing immensely to their future success in a world pervasively impacted by globalization.

“Despite the pandemic, we have been receiving large numbers of applications from students to study abroad – as soon, of course, as it is safe to do so – and we are increasingly optimistic and hopeful that they will once again be able to study abroad in numbers to rival recent years.”

The study abroad information reflected in the 2020 Open Doors Report relates to the 2018-19 academic year, before the coronavirus pandemic began. During that year, a record 3,244 IU Bloomington students studied abroad – an increase of more than 6 percent – and overall, 4,457 students from all IU campuses studied abroad. Of those IU Bloomington students, 1,329 spent a semester abroad, ranking the campus third in the nation for mid-length study-abroad programs for the third year in a row. These figures only reflect U.S. students; an additional 298 IU Bloomington international students also participated in study abroad programs. 

“We are fortunate that so many IU Bloomington students are so globally minded that they want to actively pursue an international experience as an integral part of their degree programs across most majors and minors,” said Kathleen Sideli, IU associate vice president for overseas study. “Additionally, our institution has created a diversified portfolio of programs to accommodate their varying disciplinary and geographic interests.”

At IUPUI, a record 640 students traveled outside the U.S. as part of their academic programs. These results reflect IUPUI’s dedication to access and affordability for international education, which includes offering planning scholarships that help underrepresented populations and students with financial need prepare to study abroad early in their college career. 

Overall, 4,457 students from all IU campuses studied abroad that year.

Hannah Buxbaum
Hannah Buxbaum.Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

“IU is committed to expanding overseas study opportunities for our students across all campuses and programs, and to making this transformative educational experience as accessible as possible,” said Hannah Buxbaum, IU vice president for international affairs. “We’re pleased to see this recognition of our efforts, which we are determined to resume as soon as circumstances permit.”

In 2018-19, IU students received more than $5 million in dedicated study abroad gift aid – an all-time high. These funds include scholarships from a special $20 million fundraising campaign – initiated by McRobbie in 2010 and matched by the university – that has just been successfully concluded as part of IU’s $3.9 billion Bicentennial Campaign. Longstanding support in the form of grants, scholarships and loans has helped ensure a doubling, since 2007, in the number of IU students who study abroad.

Amidst a nationwide decrease in international student enrollment, IU remained among the top 50 host institutions for international students in the 2019-20 academic year. According to the Open Doors Report, IU Bloomington hosted 6,331 international students, placing it 33rd nationally. IU Bloomington’s international students hail from 121 countries, highlighting the geodiversity of the student body.

In addition, IUPUI hosted 2,384 students from across the world, placing it in the top 100 doctoral institutions enrolling international students. IUPUI students hail from 98 countries, but that number increases to 144 when those who hold dual citizenships are included.

IU’s dedication to global education extends beyond offering study abroad opportunities and enrolling a diverse group of international students, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Initiatives like Global Connections, Global Classroom and IUPUI’s new global funding opportunities allow IU students, faculty and staff to remain connected to the world and celebrate intercultural exchange without leaving campus.

Media Contact

Office of the Vice President for International Affairs

Brittaney Hartzer

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