Dec 27, 2012

Top 25 Colleges for Study Abroad

Goucher College

Forty years ago, students studied abroad. But it wasn’t quite as easy or inexpensive as it is today. Although we weren’t exactly packing a trunk and riding in steerage for months, foreign travel was still something of a luxury that not everyone could afford.

All that has changed now, as colleges are making study abroad options accessible to virtually any student with dreams of visiting foreign countries and experiencing new cultures.

In fact, new report by the Institute of International Education (IIE) shows that increasing number of US college students are taking advantage of study abroad options offered on their campuses. IIE’s Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange counted 273,996 US students studying abroad for credit during the academic year 2010-11—an all-time high.

“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.”

According to the 2012 Open Doors survey, the United Kingdom continues to be 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 also significant increases in the number of Americans studying in “non-traditional” destinations outside of Europe, including Brazil, China, Costa Rica, India, and South Korea. Not surprisingly, students going to Japan dropped 33 percent (programs were disrupted by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami), and Mexico saw a 42 percent decrease in American students studying across the border.

A number of local colleges and universities were among the schools with the highest undergraduate participation rates for study abroad. American University (70.9%), Georgetown University (52.7%), the College of William & Mary (38.1%), George Washington (49.5%), and UVa (30.4%) were in the top 40 doctorate institutions. Loyola University of Maryland (86%) came in 5th among master’s institutions, and Goucher (95.2%), and St. Mary’s College of Maryland (72.7%) were listed as top 40 baccalaureate institutions.

Study abroad by American students has more than tripled over the past two decades.  In fact, Open Doors reports that 33 campus had study abroad participation rates of more than 70 percent of their total student population.

Without separating by size, the following 25 colleges had the highest percentages of undergraduates going abroad during the 2010-11 academic year:

  1. Arcadia University, PA (147.3%)
  2. Centre College, KY (134.2%)
  3. Taylor University, IN (122.2%)
  4. Austin College, TX (108%)
  5. Wofford College, SC (104.6%)
  6. Elon University, NC (103.8%)
  7. Lee University, TN (100.9%)
  8. St. Olaf College, MN (95.6%)
  9. Goucher College, MD (95.2%)
  10. Colorado College, CO (95.2%)
  11. DePauw University, IN (89.7%)
  12. Luther College, IA (88.6%)
  13. Kalamazoo College, MI (87.9%)
  14. University of San Diego, CA (86.8%)
  15. University of Dallas, TX (86.7%)
  16. Loyola University Maryland, MD (86%)
  17. University of Redlands, CA (81%)
  18. Lewis & Clark College, OR (80%)
  19. Goshen College, IN (79.6%)
  20. Bates College, ME (78.9%)
  21. Hanover College, IN (78.6%)
  22. Earlham College, IN (78.5%)
  23. Oberlin College, OH (77.4%)
  24. Pepperdine University, CA (75.9%)
  25. Haverford College, PA  (75.6%)

And once again, NYU wins the top award for sending the most students abroad—3,799.  Michigan State (2,577) and the University of Minnesota (2,562) came in second and third respectively.

For the complete report, visit the Institute of International Education website.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I have a friend who wants to study abroad and is looking for some colleges in PA to go to. He also wants to stay close to his home, so that's going to be a challenge in itself.

  2. Abroad Study not just increases the career prospects of an individual, but it also totally changes one's life.