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ASU study abroad moves up in the ranks

Open Doors list moves ASU up seven spots to No. 18 for numbers of students studying around the world

Diana Chen in Cuba

Diana Chen (left, with Lissette Guerrero, Rachel Tomlinson and Derin Odunlami), a Science of Health Care Delivery major and Spanish minor, traveled to Cuba this year with ASU Study Abroad. Financial worries initially kept her away from the idea of travel, but the Planning Scholarship — a program for first-generation college students by providing them guidance and financial support specifically for study abroad — helped make it a reality for her. Photo courtesy of Diana Chen

November 16, 2016

Arizona State University leapt in the ranks of universities sending students abroad, according to a recently released survey.

Open Doors, a survey compiled by the Institute of International Education, released their annual national rankings this week (including ASU maintaining its rank as the No. 1 public research institution for international students). ASU, ranked at 25 last year, moved up to 18 in this year’s report. Rankings are determined by number of students universities send abroad per year. Tailing Northeastern University-Boston by 47 students and the University of Wisconsin-Madison by 50, the Study Abroad Office sent 2,102 Sun Devils abroad during the 2014-2015 academic year —an increase from 1,793 in a single year.

The top six study abroad destinations were the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, China, France and the Czech Republic, with nearly half studying during the summer. Students from all ASU campuses are represented in this figure, including ASU Online.

“We specifically attribute this growth to the fact that we implemented a five-year strategic plan at the university that focuses on seeing more students engage globally. This includes underrepresented students within the overall study abroad enrollments nationwide, like first-generation students, as well as an increase in our graduate students who are studying abroad,” explained Adam Henry, director of the Study Abroad Office.

Henry noted, “As we continue to strive towards studying abroad being accessible to all ASU students, our continued focus through 2020 is to strategically increase the overall number of ASU students studying abroad by:

  1. Reducing financial and academic barriers;
  2. Increasing the number of underrepresented students going abroad;
  3. Developing more international internship and service-learning opportunities;
  4. Measuring the effectiveness of ASU’s study abroad programs on ASU students.”

Students are already benefitting from these efforts. Diana Chen, a Planning Scholar, was initially discouraged by her parents to fulfill a childhood dream of study abroad due to financial concerns. The Planning Scholars program is for first-generation college students by providing them guidance and financial support specifically for study abroad. Chen, a Science of Health Care Delivery major and Spanish minor, traveled to Cuba this year.

“The Planning Scholarship impacted both my personal life and academic career. As a first-generation and low-income student, studying abroad felt impossible due to the financial constraints. The Planning Scholarship lifted that financial burden and gave me the opportunity to study abroad and explore the health-care system of one of the most exclusive countries in the world — Cuba! In addition, earning the scholarship boosted my confidence and hope for the future. It reminded me that if I set my mind to something (i.e., studying abroad), I can achieve it regardless of how many obstacles there are.”

ASU is a leader in the development and promotion of study abroad opportunities for students. The Study Abroad Office offers more than 250 program options in more than 65 countries, with program lengths ranging from one week to one year. Financial aid and scholarships apply to semester and year-long programming. Learn more at

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