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UCLA Leads Public Universities in Student Travel AbroadUCLA student Emily Roh (lower left) with other University of California Education Abroad students in South Korea, fall 2004.

UCLA Leads Public Universities in Student Travel Abroad

Authoritative Open Doors 2004 report says UCLA sent 1,917 students abroad in 2002-03 school year.

The heading read "Study Abroad Surging Among American Students After September 11." The November 15 press release of the International Institute of Education was announcing the publication of its annual Open Doors report on foreign students in the United States and American students studying abroad. Study abroad by U.S. college students was up 8.5% for 2002-03, the report said, despite drops in enrollments in programs in Asia because of SARS and in the Middle East because of fears of violence. UCLA was rated the number-two school in the country for the 1,917 students it sent to other countries to study last year, second only to New York University, which sent 2,061. The UCLA number includes the Education Abroad Program, housed at the UCLA International Institute, Summer Sessions, the Internships and Study Abroad Services of the university's Career Center, and two MBA programs of the Anderson Graduate School of Management. A total of 174,629 Americans took part in study abroad programs last year, a new record.

The Open Doors 2004 rankings for American universities that sent 1,000 or more students to other countries was:

New York University 2,061
UCLA 1,917
Michigan State University 1,864
University of Texas at Austin 1,654
University of Arizona 1,466
University of Wisconsin-Madison 1,441
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 1,466
University of Georgia 1,401
Indiana University at Bloomington 1,379
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1,377

The report noted that compared to the mid-1980s, most study abroad programs today are for a shorter time. Twenty years ago there were more one-year programs, while today most students go for a quarter or for an 8-10 week summer session.

The International Institute of Education (IEE) is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1919, devoted to international exchanges. It is headquartered in New York with 19 offices worldwide and a network of some 800 colleges and universities. It administers the Fulbright program for the U.S. State Department. Its Open Doors report is an authoritative 96-page publication issued each year with comprehensive statistics on university student exchange programs.

In releasing this year's report, IIE President Allan Goodman said, "These increasing numbers show that American students are continuing to reach out to the rest of the world, to experience other cultures firsthand, and to become more engaged in international affairs. . . . graduating students with a global vision and global competencies will be key to America's economic success in the 21st century and to its ability to provide global leadership in the challenging times ahead."

While a majority of students nationally chose Western Europe as their destination, there was important growth last year in travel to other countries, with 11 of the 20 leading destinations falling elsewhere. Some of the countries that showed rising student interest were:

  • Australia (10,691, up 13%),
  • Mexico (8,775, up 9%),
  • the Czech Republic (1,997, up 20%),
  • South Africa (1,594, up 10%),
  • Ecuador (1,567, up 10%), and
  • Russia (1,521, up 20%).

There was growing interest in Cuba, where 1,474 students took classes, up 15% from the previous year and above Brazil which had 1,345; 739 went to Korea, 703 to India, 599 to Peru, and 286 to Vietnam (a 31% increase from 2001-02). Eighteen students went to Antarctica, a first. The Middle East declined as a choice by 51% compared to the previous year, with only 648.

Education Abroad Program