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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student


IU’s study abroad programs rank fourth nationally and first in Big Ten


IU Bloomington was ranked fourth nationally and first in Big Ten schools for students studying abroad in the 2021-22 academic year as part of the 2023 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange, the only longstanding resource on American students studying abroad. 

The university was one of more than 759 U.S. institutions included in the report. 

For the 2021-22 academic year, 2,498 IU Bloomington students studied abroad in more than 60 countries, according to an IU news release. IU has ranked in the top 10 universities in the past, but this is the highest ranking IU has ever received, according to the release. 

“Our long-standing focus on global engagement has made Indiana University a nationally recognized leader in international education,” IU President Pamela Whitten said in the news release. “From our network of Global Gateways to our transformative study abroad and international programs, we are not only introducing students to new cultures and perspectives but preparing them to be competitive in the modern global economy.” 

Jennifer Engel, associate vice president for education abroad, said due to the pandemic there were obstacles such as certain countries not being open, risk management and extra preparation that had to go into the programs. 

“So many other universities stopped sending students abroad and IU did a really great job of figuring out how to send students abroad in a way that was safe,” Engel said. 

During the 2021-22 academic year, 2,498 IU Bloomington students studied abroad. The closest Big Ten schools to this were the University of Michigan with 2,007 students and the University of Wisconsin with 1,798 students who studied abroad according to Open Doors. 

Engel said something that sets the IU study abroad programs apart from other programs is its institutional leadership. She said under former IU president, Michael McRobbie, there was a consistent message about how beneficial study abroad was and how faculty and staff need to facilitate that for students. 

“When you can articulate courses and make it a seamless process for students to transfer credit back towards specific degree requirements and classes it makes it easier for them to study abroad,” Engel said. “There is no longer that perceived barrier to going abroad because the work has already been done for you.” 

Engel said since she started her position at IU in July 2022, a lot of focus has been on reaching out to underrepresented students who have never thought about going abroad before. She said the Education Abroad Office partners closely with the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion staff to reach these students and shows them that they can study abroad, too. 

“Different ethnic groups, first generation college students or students who are concerned about finances, we are always looking at how we can reach out to those students,” Engel said. 

IU senior and student peer advisor at the Education Abroad Office, Annetta Itnyre, said she studied abroad in New Zealand in the spring 2023 and the various programs students can choose from sets IU apart from other programs. 

“You can make your experience your own at IU,” Itnyre said. “There is just so much variety that you can really find a program that meets all of your needs. You are not forced to go on a program that you do not like, we have other options.” 

Itnyre said another thing IU does that is helpful is lead students toward scholarships and other ways to help pay for study abroad.  

“Study abroad is expensive, and it can seem overwhelming because of the financial aspect, we try to make that dream come true for everyone,” Itnyre said.  

The Education Abroad Office offers multiple scholarships depending on the type of program students choose. Most IU financial aid may be applied to academic-year and semester IU-administered or co-sponsored programs. Students can also use federal financial aid toward non-IU study abroad programs if they meet certain criteria including grade point average requirements and being a full-time student while studying abroad. 

Itnyre said the ranking is well-deserved because the Education Abroad Office is organized, there is a support system for students and the passionate staff which are all things that make up a good program. 

“I think studying abroad and spreading your wings outside of the United States has always been prioritized at IU,” Itnyre said. “IU as a university tends to emphasize the need to learn from other cultures and people and trying to make the world a better place.” 

If students are interested in studying abroad, the Education Abroad Office recommends starting the planning process now. An Education Abroad info session covers the basics of studying abroad such as how to research program options, costs, financial aid and scholarships and how and when to apply to a program. 

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