W&J Ranks High in Percentage of Students Who Study Abroad

WASHINGTON, DC (Nov. 13, 2012)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) is 24th among undergraduate institutions nationally in percentage of students who study abroad, according to the 2012 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange released yesterday.

In 2010-11, 234 W&J students studied abroad, a participation rate of just more than 68 percent.

“Washington & Jefferson College provides opportunities for students to experience the world. We want students to get to know people from across the globe, to experience living abroad, and gain an understanding of other cultures firsthand,” said Traci Fruehauf, director of global education at W&J. 

The Open Doors Report finds that the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by six percent, to a record high of 764,495 in the 2011/12 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased by one percent. This year, international exchanges in all 50 states contributed $22.7 billion to the U.S. economy. International education creates a positive economic and social impact for communities in the United States and around the world.

Findings of the Open Doors Report, published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE), in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, were the subject of a briefing in Washington, D.C. yesterday, led by assistant secretary of state Ann Stock and IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Ann Stock, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. “International education creates strong, lasting relationships between the U.S. and emerging leaders worldwide. Students return home with new perspectives and a global skill set that will allow them to build more prosperous, stable societies.” 

In the 2010/11 academic year, 273,996 American students studied abroad for academic credit, an increase of one percent—an all-time high. U.S. students studying abroad increased in 17 of the top 25 destination countries. Five percent more students studied in China and 12 percent more students studied in India than in the prior year. Open Doors 2012 reports that the United Kingdom remains the leading destination for American students, followed by Italy, Spain, France and China—which remained the fifth largest host destination for the fifth year.

There were significant increases in the number of Americans studying in several “non-traditional” destinations outside Europe: Brazil, China, Costa Rica, India, and South Korea. More Americans also studied in some of the European destinations, with nine percent more studying in Italy, and smaller increases in study abroad to Austria, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Based on the steady increase in Open Doors numbers, American students have continually shown that they remain interested in getting international experience. Many campus leaders remain committed to ensuring that large numbers of their students have an international experience before graduating, and Open Doors reported that 33 campuses had study abroad participation rates of more than 70 percent of their student body.

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Eva Pfeffer