Campus: San Diego State University -- November 19, 2004

SDSU Among Top 2 Doctoral/Research-Intensive Universities for Students Studying Abroad

SDSU is now the second ranked university of its type in the country for students studying internationally, a new report shows.

The Institute of International Education (IIE)'s Open Doors 2004 report ranks SDSU second in the nation for students studying abroad, up one spot from last year, among Doctoral/Research-Intensive universities. The ranking is based on the total number of students who studied abroad during the 2002-2003 academic year. During that period, 1,030 SDSU students studied abroad.

"Given the world situation today, international education is all the more necessary," said Alan Sweedler, SDSU physics professor and assistant vice president for International Programs. "Students need to be able to work internationally and in different cultures. This is what truly contributes to international security and cooperation."

The 10 most popular destinations for SDSU students for 2002-2003 were: Mexico (201 students); Spain (160); the United Kingdom (154); Costa Rica (86); Australia (57); France (53); Italy (44); Chile (33); Germany (32) and Russia (22).

"Study abroad is becoming more of a norm and there are more faculty than ever who have become involved in working to create these opportunities for their students," Sweedler said. "But our students remain the best recruiters. When they return from their international studies and tell other students about their incredible experiences, others become very interested in pursuing study abroad as well."

Aaron Pratts, a senior, has already studied in Sweden and Costa Rica through the university's programs and is a prospective Fulbright Scholar with a teaching assignment in Malaysia. "Studying abroad combined with the additional travel opportunities has greatly enhanced my educational experience and understanding of different cultures," said Pratts, a double major in Communication and International Security and Conflict Resolution. "SDSU's study abroad programs have opened up my future to unlimited possibilities as I have already developed key connections throughout Europe, Northern Africa, Asia and Central America. I have the foundation to go anywhere in the world to accomplish my personal and professional goals."

The 2002-2003 class of foreign-bound students caps a 517 percent increase in study abroad participants at SDSU over the last six years, and the SDSU officials said even more students studied abroad in 2003-2004.

"SDSU's leading role in students studying abroad is a direct result of the university's increased emphasis on international education," Sweedler said. "We weren't ranked in this listing five years ago. And in the last four years, we went from 11th to fifth and now up to second. We had fewer than 200 students studying abroad five years ago; last year we had 1,168 students who studied abroad."

Other notable facts include:

  • SDSU was ranked third among all universities in California in the IIE's study abroad rankings;
  • SDSU ranks 13th for hosting international students, according to the IIE report;
  • 18 percent of SDSU's graduates studied abroad for the 2002-2003 academic year.
Miami University of Ohio topped the study abroad list (1,208 students), followed by SDSU. George Mason University (915), Baylor University (895) and the University of Saint Thomas (649) came in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Open Doors 2004 report is published by the Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States. IIE has conducted the annual statistical survey of the foreign students in the United States since 1949, and has been collecting study abroad figures since 1986. A grant from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs underwrites the research and report.

Media Contact: Aaron Hoskins, (619) 594-1119,

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