BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Despite the suspension of international travel in the spring and summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana University Bloomington ranked second in the nation for semesterlong study abroad programs and sixth for the total number of students studying abroad in 2019-20. These rankings reflect IU’s international engagement, through providing its students with a wide range of transformative experiences that foster personal growth and expand their world views.
The study abroad rankings of more than 1,800 U.S. institutions are part of the 2021 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange, which is the only longstanding resource on American students studying abroad. The report’s release comes during International Education Week, when IU President Pamela Whitten participated in NAFSA’s 2021 Presidential Panel.
At the panel, IU was recognized for receiving the Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for its Global Gateway for Teachers program. This program provides student teaching experiences around the globe and offers invaluable intercultural immersion for education students.
“As a leader in international education, Indiana University is proud to offer our students the transformative experience of studying abroad while navigating the unique worldwide challenges in 2021,” IU President Pamela Whitten said. “Giving our students the opportunity to widen their perspectives is essential to preparing them for the increasingly competitive global economy.”
According to the Open Doors Report, 1,537 IU Bloomington students traveled outside the U.S. as part of their programs during the 2019-20 academic year, as did over 100 students from IUPUI and a few from IU Southeast. Since IU regional campus students participate primarily in short-term spring and summer programs, they were mostly unable to travel internationally in 2020.
As global mobility returns, the university continues to offer a limited number of programs that follow special protocols to ensure the safety of participants amid the ongoing pandemic.
“Our students abroad in the spring of 2020 faced incredible challenges: Their time overseas was cut short, their return home was stressful, and all of them had to complete their studies remotely,” said Hannah L. Buxbaum, IU’s vice president for international affairs. “Their resilience was truly impressive, and we are delighted to see that student enthusiasm for study abroad is undiminished.”
IU Bloomington also ranked among the top 40 institutions for hosting international students during the 2020-21 academic year, welcoming more than 5,175 international students. The university as a whole welcomed more than 7,300 international students across its campuses in 2020-21, including 1,980 at IUPUI. Despite the upheaval caused by the pandemic, international students’ interest in attending IU campuses has rebounded.