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Sunday, November 18, 2018

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SDSU students studied in 60 different countries last year. SDSU students studied in 60 different countries last year.

Top University for Study Abroad

SDSU was ranked 22nd in the nation for the number of students studying abroad.
By Kimberly Lamke Calderon

This story is also featured on the SDSU Be International page. For additional stories and information about studying abroad, please visit the Be International website.

San Diego State University ranked 22nd in the nation for the number of students studying abroad, according the latest Institute for International Education’s Open Doors report.

SDSU bested its 30th place ranking in the previous academic year by more than 12 percent, with a total of 1,812 students studying abroad in 2012-13, the academic year the 2014 Open Doors Report is based on.

“There is nothing more important for our students than to gain an understanding of the world they live in now and the world they will enter upon graduation. One of the most effective ways for students to gain this understanding is by direct engagement with other nations and cultures via the many international opportunities offered to them by SDSU's study abroad programs,” said Alan Sweedler, assistant vice president for international programs and a physics professor at SDSU.

Overall, SDSU is ranked third among universities in California and 22nd in the country for institutions of its type.

Sixty countries, countless opportunities

SDSU students studied in 60 different countries across the globe during 2012-13. The top five most popular countries were the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, China and France.

“Talking to students who have returned from studying abroad, there is no doubt that the time spent studying internationally has been transformational and enjoyable,” said Noah Hansen, director of the International Student Center. “But more than that, these learning experiences have provided them with the skills to navigate an ever-changing global workplace and become more versatile communicators. Studying abroad makes these students more desirable to employers.”

Increasing the number of students studying abroad is part of the university’s strategic plan, “Building on Excellence.” As part of the student success initiative, SDSU has a goal of increasing the number of undergraduate students studying abroad to 30 percent of the overall student population in the next four years.

“Internationalization in all its aspects is a central mission of SDSU and we hope to have as many students as possible have an approved international experience before they graduate,” Sweedler said.

Studying abroad teaches life skills

Laura Weinbrenner, a graphic design major, said her study abroad experience in Dundee, Scotland this past Spring not only gave her a broader world perspective, but also strengthened her self-confidence and problem-solving skills.

“When you study abroad you realize that when things go wrong — and something always does — you are going to need to figure out a solution on your own,” Weinbrenner said. “When you can take care of yourself in a new environment, on the other side of the world, you learn that you can do anything.”

Nationwide, a total of 289,408 students studied abroad for academic credit from their U.S. colleges and universities according to the Open Doors report. The report also noted that nationally fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad as part of their undergraduate education.

SDSU also an “international destination”

In addition to increasing the number of students who studied abroad, SDSU also saw a rise in the number of international students who chose SDSU for their international experience. Nearly 2,100 international students from more than 90 countries studied at SDSU in 2012-13. The top countries of origin for those students included India, China, Germany, Kuwait and Mexico.

“Our university offers international students a rich, well-rounded academic and cultural experience,” Hansen said. “And having students from a variety of countries in the classroom with our domestic students increases diversity on our campus and the value of the classroom experience for all.”

More Open Doors information

The Open Doors report is published annually by the Institute of International Education, an independent, non-profit organization, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The annual statistical survey reports on the number of international scholars at U.S. universities, international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs, and on U.S. students studying abroad.

More of the Open Doors 2014 information is available on the Institute of International Education’s website.