The University of Texas at Austin ranks second in the nation for the number of students studying abroad and among the top 25 for international student enrollment, according to the newly released "Open Doors 2013" report published by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
"I am pleased that The University of Texas continues to excel at internationalizing our campus," said Janet Ellzey, vice provost for international programs. "Studying abroad changes the lives of our students by giving them the opportunity to experience different cultures, and the university environment is enriched by the talent that we attract from around the world."
The university sent more students abroad in 2011-2012 than any other public institution, with 2,596 participants. A 10.5 percent increase in participation fueled the move from fifth to second in the rankings, a position last held by the university in 2000-2001. The top destinations for students are Spain, the United Kingdom, France, China and Brazil.
Nationally, study abroad participation increased by more than 60 percent during the past decade, according to the "Open Doors" report. The number of U.S. students abroad increased 3 percent in 2011-2012 compared with the prior year. At the university, the College of Liberal Arts, the McCombs School of Business, the Graduate School, the Moody College of Communication and the Cockrell School of Engineering continue to send the most students abroad.
"Study abroad enhances our students' education as well as their career prospects and understanding of the world," said Heather Barclay Hamir, director of study abroad programs. "Our collective efforts to ensure broader access to these opportunities are succeeding, and we will continue to implement strategies that allow greater numbers of students to participate in years to come."
New initiatives to promote study abroad among first-generation college students and students in specific majors are contributing to greater mobility for groups that have not historically studied abroad in significant numbers. Since students who travel abroad as an undergraduate are more likely to graduate in four years, the university is also providing $1,500 enrichment scholarships to encourage more students through our Presidential Achievement Scholars to participate in experiential learning, including study abroad programs.
The University of Texas at Austin ranked 21st in the number of international students enrolled. Enrollment increased slightly from the prior year to 5,481. The top five sending countries are China, South Korea, India, Mexico and Taiwan.
"International students admitted to the university represent the 'best and the brightest' minds in their home countries. They enhance our campus through the diverse perspectives they provide in the classroom and their contributions to the vast research that is performed in our labs," said Teri Albrecht, director of international student and scholar services. "The exchange of students and scholars between the United States and other countries creates a personal diplomacy that brings people of different countries closer together, and the value of this cannot be underestimated."
International students make a significant economic impact on the local, state and national economy. An estimated $1.4 billion is contributed to the Texas economy by international students and their families.
"As the world becomes more interconnected," noted Ellzey, "understanding other cultures and their perspectives will become increasingly important. The University of Texas is committed to making international opportunities accessible to all of our students and to maintaining an environment that welcomes people from all over the world."
The "Open Doors" report is based on a survey of about 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions. It is published by IIE with funding from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.