Campus: San Diego -- May 11, 2006

San Diego State Ranks 2nd in Nation for Students Studying Abroad

Number of Students Studying Internationally Up 668 Percent in Seven Years

San Diego State University ranks second in the nation among universities of its type for students studying abroad in the latest "Open Doors" report by the Institute for International Education.

The ranking is based on the total number of students who studied abroad during the 2003-2004 academic year. During that period, 1,115 SDSU students studied abroad, up from 1,030 the year before.

"For San Diego to continue to thrive in the global village of the 21st century, more and more of our leaders in business, politics, science and the arts will need to have international knowledge and perspective," said Alan Sweedler, SDSU physics professor and assistant vice president for International Programs. "The university has placed a high priority on expanding study abroad opportunities, and the students have really taken advantage of them. This bodes well for our students and our region."

The 2003-2004 class of foreign-bound students represents a 668 percent increase in study abroad participants at SDSU since 1997-1998. SDSU officials said the number of students studied abroad grew to 1,220 in 2004-05. They anticipate an even greater number will have studied abroad during the 2005-06 academic year, which ends after this summer.

The 10 most popular destinations for SDSU students for 2003-2004 were: Mexico (212 students); the United Kingdom (178); Spain (138); France (57); Cuba (56); Italy (55); Australia (53); Costa Rica (44); Chile (38); and Germany (36).

This is the second straight year that SDSU ranked No. 2 for students studying abroad among universities classified as "Doctoral Research/Intensive" institutions by the Carnegie Foundation. (Carnegie overhauled its systems earlier this year, and now SDSU is classified as a "Research University" with high research activity. SDSU is the only California State University campus with this classification, which places it among the top 200 higher education institutions in the country conducting research.)

The university has taken a number of steps to spur the growth of study abroad at SDSU, Sweedler said. Since 1999, the Office of International Programs has awarded grants to more than 450 faculty members to expand and develop international programs. In addition, a number of degree programs, ranging from international business to Spanish and Portuguese studies, have made international study a requirement for graduation.

Sweedler said the university's goal is to have 30 percent of each graduating class to have spent at least one full semester or summer term abroad. Right now SDSU has raised that percentage to about 18 percent.

The "Open Doors" 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. The "Open Doors" report is available at http://www.opendoors.iienetwork.org/.

Miami University of Ohio topped the study abroad list for Doctoral Research/Intensive universities (1,308 students), followed by SDSU. George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. (1,024), the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. (753), and Baylor University in Waco, Texas (698) came in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Contact: Jason Foster, (619) 594-2585 office; (619) 992-0772 cell, foster@mail.sdsu.edu


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