UGA and Kennesaw among the top U.S. campuses for study abroad. Georgia ranks 12th for international students here.

Interesting data today on international students attending college in the U.S. and American students going abroad to study.

The stats are from the 2012 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, published annually by the Institute of International Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The report notes 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, driven by an increase in Chinese students.

At the same time, U.S. students studying abroad increased by one percent. Among the top 40 doctoral institutions, University of Georgia ranks 12th in the nation, sending 2,079 students abroad to study in 2010-2011. In that same category, the top five campuses for sending students abroad are New York University, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Texas, Austin

Among the top 40 master’s institutions, Kennesaw State University ranks 8th, sending 734 students to study abroad. The top five schools in that category are Elon University, James Madison University, Appalachian State University, Villanova University and Arcadia University

There are no Georgia campuses on the next tier, top 40 baccalaureate institutions.  The top five campuses on that list are Saint Olaf, Calvin College, Oberlin College, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University and Taylor University. (In searching for common factors, I did note one thing: Many of these schools are in places with cold winters, especially the baccalaureate top five, all of which are in the Midwest.)

According to the report:

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.

The report also examines the number of international students in the United States.

Among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., Georgia ranks 12th in international student attending its public and private campuses. There are 16,193 international students in Georgia.

Georgia Tech leads the list with 4, 973 international students, followed by Emory with 2,039, Georgia State University with 1,578, UGA with 1,510, and Savannah College of Art and Design with 1,392.

Those international students expend $462.9 million annually in the state, according to the fact sheet. (Most are paying full freight to go to school.)

Nearly a quarter of the foreign students in Georgia are from China (23.1 percent), followed by India (17.1 percent),  South Korea (14.2 percent), Taiwan, (2.6 percent) and Saudi Arabia (2.2 percent).

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

20 comments Add your comment


November 12th, 2012
6:02 pm

What a waste of precious resources. Most of these are little more than junkets teaching kids how to prepare for life on someone else’s dimes. Wonder why college educations cost so much? Kids borrow money for these excursions, and end up with nothing but debt and ungodly hangovers.

pride and joy

November 12th, 2012
7:11 pm

Yes, and then they stay here and take our jobs. I am not impressed with them paying “full freight” when they get here and get all the full freight of our salaries.
We need to protect our borders.


November 12th, 2012
8:38 pm

Both of my kids studied abroad in Maymesters. They went to Italy, Russia, Czech Republic (2), Australia, Fiji, Vietnam. And while they were in these countries they had opportunities to travel to other countries: Poland, Austria, Netherlands, Slovakia. If you don’t think it’s a good idea to open their eyes to a larger world view, then don’t pay/encourage them to go. I happen to think it was worth it. A full year abroad would have been an entirely different story. That gets to be very expensive. But a 3-5 week Maymester is very doable.


November 12th, 2012
8:49 pm

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Fred ™

November 12th, 2012
10:26 pm

That is 4, 973 seats that qualified American students are denied at Georgia tech. And yet folks will lament our lack of STEM qualified people. What the hell, we send all our jobs to China, we may as well send our technology and educate their population at our expense as well……

Private Citizen

November 12th, 2012
11:40 pm

Lexi, you’re so funny. The first thing I figured out on study abroad is that if I was a citizen of the country I was studying in, the tuition would be 1/5th of what I paying in the U. S. It was a good experience to sit down with a Disney executive in a conference room on their premises and be the one to be asking questions based on a case study. I also interviewed a female executive from Unilever . During the interview I asked about workplace harassment of females and it being a concern in the U. S. and the person in short order pretty much told me, “Boy, are you a dummy. We (women) know how to make our own decisions here.” As far as hangovers and drinking, I think there was a little of that when one of my close-to-penniless fellow students mentioned he could get a car, his family (he was not from the U. S.) had a car in the region, so we made a quick weekend jaunt out to Bretagne and instead of staying in a proper accommodation, he danced like a fool until sun-up in a disco in a sea side casino, while I just sort of checked out the vibe. I recall the beach sand was quite hot and it was a pretty good hike to get up to the top of Mont St. Michel, a place that has changed hands about eight times due to various wars. Studying abroad is a very good idea for working in business if you do not wish to be provincial. Additionally, outside of the United States, business is taught differently, different priorities, methods, considerations, and expectations, which changes the strategy of doing business.

Private Citizen

November 13th, 2012
12:04 am

I’ve got a family member who is outside of the U. S. doing a year long study. The main incidence of cost was putting the airfare together. Accommodation is with a family. Aside from the airfare, the cost is not problematic compared with U. S. study / tuition, etc. My friend did a semester abroad and got stuck in / assigned to a cold little industrial town, said it was completely a drag. The cost, compared with tuition and fees for study in the U. S., is maybe not so different and often, aside from airfare, not more.

Private Citizen

November 13th, 2012
12:13 am

jlmdra I ordered a copy.

pride and joy

November 13th, 2012
6:07 am

Catherine, I have never heard of a Maymester. Please elaborate for all of us who are unaware. SOunds awesome. would love to know the details.
Maureen, can you do a blog about students traveling and learning abraod? I’ve never seen you cover that topic.


November 13th, 2012
7:27 am

My daughter did a semester abroad and it changed her life. All American students need to do something abroad. Without that we will be more isolated.


November 13th, 2012
7:27 am

Technology can’t duplicate life.


November 13th, 2012
11:04 am

Our oldest has done school sponsored “educational” junkets abroad beginning with a trip half way around the world when she was 10, running up through her high school senior year studying a foreign language-total immersion-in the european country where the language was born. Didn’t help our world traveler’s language skills, though said traveler came home greatly appreciating our country and our standard of living.

Spouse did a semester abroad in europe as a collage student enrolled at a top tier institution of higher learning. Doesn’t remember much except it involved lots of wine.

I believe travel is highly educational and we’ve done boatloads with our children. I am not convinced it is a good use of scarce educational resources, especially if one has to borrow heavily to attain that experience.


November 13th, 2012
11:05 am

Type: Probation
Date: 11/13/12 11:03am
Horrible Jerk: Lexi
Punishment Reason: Your post is a waste of precious electrons. User loses posting privileges for 1 day.
Requested By: Heika
Approved By: Pending

Private Citizen

November 13th, 2012
11:15 am

Lexi, borrowing for education, in general, is a bad idea. In general, it is not done outside the United States. A friend of mine was telling me about his foreign fiance, getting their finances figured out. He has education debt. She does not. He said, “They just don’t do that.” Sometimes I think the USA has been turned into a colony to serve the bankers. With higher education debt, it seems to be the case. What is it now, average of $25k debt per student? That’s a lot of coconuts. I call it “graduating with a house payment and no house.” Welcome to the lost generation.


November 13th, 2012
11:58 am

@ Pride & Joy, Nov. 13, 6:07 am. Maymesters are school terms that take place mostly all in May, between the ending of the Spring term and beginning of the regular Summer term. They cram the entire course into three weeks by meeting every weekday for 4-5 hour classes. One of my former chairs accurately described teaching one of them as being as much fun as roofing a house in August.

Of course, that’s a Maymester taught in a school, not one in which the faculty travel with the students through the countryside and lecture on the culture of what they are viewing.


November 13th, 2012
12:18 pm

I studied abroad for a semester while I was in college and my daughter studied at Oxford on the UGA program there. Both experiences were valuable and perspective-changing, although I think my daughter worked harder at Oxford than I remember doing in London.

She called home earlier this fall to test the parental waters on a 3-week UGA study abroad trip to Australasia, and the price and class content convinced all of us that that program fit Lexi’s description of “a waste of precious resources”. However, she’s looking at two Maymester programs that are more substantive and we’ll support her in those, as well as another semester abroad if she can fit it in.

Caveat emptor.


November 13th, 2012
2:06 pm

The concept that study abroad is a bad thing eludes me. We don’t just live in the US, we live in a world where things that happen in Singapore or England or South Africa have a direct effect on our national economy. College isn’t about killing four years before getting a job, it’s about the critical thinking skills, knowledge and global perspective needed to advance society. It’s hard to make convincing arguments about the Chinese militarily or economically if you don’t understand the culture and that understanding rarely comes in the form of a textbook. Global experience, regardless of degree program, is essential.


November 15th, 2012
7:32 pm

Don’t remember anybody footing the bill for my daughter’s sem at Oxford. Good ole parents footed the bill. Our choice. Stand behind it.


November 16th, 2012
7:33 pm

I work at KSU……a Maymester is in May, between the end of spring semester and summer semester.
It is usually 2-3 weeks. and studying abroad is not that expensive. There are also scholarships and grants.


November 30th, 2012
1:14 pm

I have been on both sides – as a parent funding full tuition for three undergrads (plus one who received a full ride through HOPE) AND as a non-profit funding the higher education of children from a developing country. One of our biological children competed with Chinese students at a prestigious university for his undergrad and is now in the final stages of his PhD in molecular biology at Georgia Tech. Two others are also working on advanced degrees. All I can say to those of you complaining about foreign students being educated in the U.S. is grow up and quit whining. In the end those who can do the work get the jobs. Getting a U.S. visa is an education in itself. U.S. citizens complain about giving USAID to developing countries, yet a quality education in a developing country is extremely expensive, it it can be found at all. For students in developing countries to make a difference and change the dependance on aid from the U.S. quality education is a requirement. The two students we are trying to get to the U.S. for college have lived through some incredible difficulties and truly treasure education. After all is said and done, even with them earning scholarships, the cost of tuition will still be greater than what we paid (willingly, I might add) for our biological children. A U.S. general once told me that education for children in developing countries is like “soft” bullets for U.S. security. By far the majority of people I have met want a hand up, not a hand out. Education provides that.