The University of Wisconsin ranked high nationally for participation in study abroad programs, but rankings were higher for sending students to different global locations than attracting international students to the Madison campus.
According to the 2011 Open Doors Report, 270,604 students from the U.S. studied abroad during the 2009-10 academic year.
UW sent 2,169 of those students overseas, the report said, putting the university in the 10th highest spot for institutions with study abroad programming. New York University was ranked first, sending 4,156 students abroad.
“[UW] continues to be one of the top 10 universities sending students abroad,” said Sharon Witherell, director of membership and publications at the Institute of International Education.
UW ranked 23rd nationally for institutions that have international students come to learn. During the 2010-11 school year, 4,647 international students studies at UW, according to a statement from UW.
The most popular destination for American students to study abroad, according to the report, is the United Kingdom, followed by Italy, Spain and France, respectively.
Witherell said study abroad programs impact the lives of a multitude of college students across the nation.
As reflected in the number of students sent abroad by UW, study abroad remains an important aspect to the university, she said.
Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor to the Institute of International Education’s president, said study abroad programs are a necessary part of an experience at a university.
Study abroad programs, Blumenthal said, help students with cultural immersion and language skills, overall aiding them with fluency.
Blumenthal added these two components are a major source of what allows students to make exponential gains from their own individual experiences.
Blumenthal stressed these experiences can benefit students throughout their lives and not just while abroad.
“Immersing yourself in another community [and] living with a family that practices a different culture [are not only] experiences that are personally fulfilling and often last lifetimes, but they also impart valuable lessons about collaboration and problem-solving that students carry with them throughout their careers,” she said.
Blumenthal also said the continuation of study abroad programs is important as it allows students to positively portray the U.S.
Many students, she said, “serve as ambassadors, build bridges with their hosts and share their own unique cultures.”