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With 77% Participation, Study Abroad Program Climbs in Rankings

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Lorne Fultonberg


Lorne Fultonberg


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DU once again in top tier of international education

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The University of Denver improved upon its already stellar ranking for study abroad education, climbing to the third spot in the annual Open Doors report from the Institute of International Education. More than 77% of DU’s undergraduate students participate in study abroad programming, based on IIE data for the 2017–18 academic year.

“DU has made a very intentional commitment to international education, and students see that,” says Stephanie Roberts, interim director of DU’s Office of International Education (OIE). “As our world becomes more and more interconnected, intentionally developing intercultural competencies and skills is essential. Study abroad is one way to help students develop those skills, and we are excited to be part of their growth and exploration.”

This represents the seventh consecutive year that DU has earned a top five ranking from the IIE, which examines the impact of international education on the U.S. higher education sector. The report, presented Nov. 18 in Washington, D.C., scrutinizes the number and profile of international students in the United States, as well as U.S. students receiving academic credit for study abroad.

Across the country, more students than ever before are studying abroad, with the majority traveling to Europe. Top destinations include: the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and Germany. About two-thirds of participants are women; about a quarter are majoring in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields; and about 30% are racial or ethnic minorities.

DU works to make study abroad opportunities accessible through its Cherrington Global Scholars financial benefits, which offsets plane tickets and student visa fees, allowing eligible undergraduate students to complete a term in another country for an amount comparable to on-campus costs. The OIE also provides scholarship information and budgetary resources to help students plan financially. As a result, DU’s study abroad participation rate has climbed consistently over the last several years.

“It speaks more widely to DU’s commitment to help make study abroad accessible to students and the students’ commitment to see this experience through,” Roberts says, “which for so many of them was a key reason for their interest in DU. We’ve seen more students remain committed to their programs when they are accepted, which speaks to their preparation and planning to make sure this experience fits in their goals and graduation plans.”

In addition to the OIE’s offerings, the University Academic Programs office provides international education opportunities through its interterm curriculum. Many other academic departments at DU also have options for students looking to study in an international setting. "Non-study" options, such as internships, exist as well.

To ensure students are adequately prepared for their experience abroad, the Office of Internationalization has implemented programming that doesn’t always show up in reports and statistics. Its unique, required courses in global citizenship have played a leading role in honing students’ skills for negotiating new cultures and taking advantage of available opportunities.

“Students have the opportunity to examine culture, identity, communication and more,” Roberts says. “I am thrilled to see the ongoing commitment and interest from the DU student body in having a meaningful international experience form part of their university education.”

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