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UW-Madison ranked in top 25 for study abroad and international students

November 14, 2016

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has been recognized as a top 25 university for campuses with the most students studying abroad and for the most international students on campus.

The rankings were presented in the 2016 Open Doors Report, which is released each year at the start of International Education Week. The report is published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The university received numerous accolades for students abroad. UW–Madison is first among the nation’s public universities for the number of students participating in semester-long study abroad programs. For 2014–2015, 1,082 students studied abroad on semester programs. Open Doors ranked UW–Madison seventh overall among all universities for students on year-long programs, with 101 students abroad during that same year.

“These rankings demonstrate the university’s strength in offering semester- and year-long study abroad programs that fit with our students’ academic plans,” says Dan Gold, director of International Academic Programs (IAP). “We lead Big 10 Academic Alliance Institutions in student participation in both semester and year-long study abroad.“

Gold added that IAP, the largest study abroad office on campus, saw a 13 percent increase in the number of students studying abroad in 2015-2016 — growth that will factor into next year’s Open Doors report and contribute to UW–Madison’s continued leadership in study abroad. Gold attributed the growth to several factors, including the availability of scholarship funds and on-campus partnerships that break down student barriers to studying abroad, as well as strides in ensuring that all study abroad opportunities include coursework that is relevant to students’ degree programs.

“Whatever their area of study or program destination, UW–Madison gives students the options they need to make study abroad an integral part of their academic, professional and personal growth.”

Dan Gold

“While we are certainly pleased that the rankings show us as leaders among peer institutions for study abroad participation, it is also gratifying to see how many students are making longer experiences abroad a priority,” says Gold. “We give our students a wide range of program options, from shorter-term experiences, often led by UW faculty members, to semester- and year-long study abroad programs that provide intensive cultural and academic learning. Whatever their area of study or program destination, UW–Madison gives students the options they need to make study abroad an integral part of their academic, professional and personal growth.”

UW-Madison ranks 24th nationally for the number of international students hosted on campus in 2014–2015. Open Doors reported that the university hosted 5,977 international students in 2014–2015, and 6,440 students in 2015–2016, an increase of 7.7 percent. This number accounts for almost half of the 13,349 international students in the state of Wisconsin.

“Our 6,440 international students represent more than 100 countries,” says Lisa Chambers, interim director of International Student Services. “Having a diverse student body enables students, faculty and staff to collaborate on scholarly activities and gain a greater understating of the world around them. This exchange is what makes UW–Madison a global university.”

The presence of international students also represents major contributions to the local and state economy. According to Open Doors, the estimated expenditure for the 13,349 international students who are studying in Wisconsin was $363,980,322.

UW–Madison is regularly recognized as a leading institution in global education. The university was among the 41 universities and colleges ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s listing of universities with stellar study abroad programs. Those listed were selected based on nominations from higher education leaders at more than 1,500 institutions. The university was also ranked 29th on U.S. News & World Report’s listing of Best Global Universities — a list that includes universities from the U.S. and approximately 60 countries.