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UW-Madison repeats as a leader in international education

November 15, 2011 By Susannah Brooks

In its 2011 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange, released this week, the Institute of International Education gives high marks to the University of Wisconsin–Madison in two categories.

Nationally, UW–Madison sent the tenth-highest number of students to study abroad during the 2009-10 school year, with 2,169 students pursuing studies in other countries. The university ranks third among producers of mid-length studies abroad and sixth among producers of long-term studies abroad (one year or more).

“At UW–Madison, study abroad continues to be an essential high-impact practice,” says Julie Lindsey, interim director of International Academic Programs. “The cross-cultural and workplace skills that students develop through these experiences — global competencies, integrative learning and independent thinking — are of great value to today’s employers.”

This year, more students chose less traditional destinations. Nationally, the number of students choosing programs in Africa, Asia and the Middle East increased by more than eight percent each, driven in part by innovative new programs that may be more affordable than those in Western Europe. UW–Madison follows this trend, led by 143 students going to China, the fifth-highest choice. With a 44 percent national increase in U.S. students going to India, UW–Madison participation jumped from 24 students in 2008-09 to 84 students the following year. Also among the top 25 destinations: South Africa, Israel, Kenya, Thailand and Vietnam.

UW-Madison also ranks 23rd among four-year colleges in the number of international students attending during the 2010-2011 school year, with 4,647 students. The number represents an increase of nearly 300 students.

“Students from other countries tell us that the main reason they come here to study is UW–Madison’s national and international reputation,” says Laurie Cox, director of International Student Services. “International students make a significant contribution to the classroom experience by sharing their ideas, experiences and cultural values. This is a big reason why so many of our students, both international and domestic, go on to become extraordinary global citizens.”