A rise in the number of UMD students studying abroad and steady international student attendance are reported during International Education Week.
The Institute of International Education and the U.S. State Department 2019 Open Doors annual survey of U.S. international exchange activity, released today as part of International Education Week, reported progress in Education Abroad (EA) programs and resistance to declining trends for international student enrollment at the University of Maryland College Park (UMD). UMD ranked #20 nationally for number of students participating in semester-long EA programs, and #32 nationally for number of students studying abroad for academic credit, among both public and private universities.
In its analysis of international students in the U.S., the survey found nearly flat overall international enrollment, inching up .05 percent, but reported a 10 percent decline among first-time international students at U.S. institutions in 2018-19 from their peak of over 300,000 in 2015-16. UMD, meanwhile, maintained its #31 ranking among doctorate-granting universities for international students, with more than 6,400. The top five countries of origin for UMD’s international students included China, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Iran.
The survey reports a total of 340,751 U.S. students studying abroad for the 2017-2018 academic school year, an increase of 2.6 percent over the previous year. UMD’s EA programs doubled that national rate increase, sending 1,871 students abroad for an increase of 5 percent.
“We are happy to see growth in our EA program enrollment, but we continue to focus our efforts on increasing enrollment to further reflect the diversity of our campus community,” said Leeanne Dunsmore, Director of EA. “We will do this through our commitment to inclusion; seeking to create welcoming, supportive learning environments for students historically underrepresented in study abroad.”
Nationally, the U.S. is experiencing a decline in the admission of international students for the third consecutive year.
“It is vital that we build on work to date to ensure that international students and scholars feel very welcome to campus,” said Sue Dougherty, Director of International Student & Scholar Services. “We value them as important members of the UMD community, and their contributions both academically and socially make the university stronger.”
“We’re working collaboratively with schools, colleges and centers across the university to more deeply integrate international programs into curricula,” said Ross Lewin, Associate Vice President of International Affairs. “The goal is to give all students across the university an opportunity to engage globally as part of their UMD experience.”
International education programs and exchanges allow students to see the world’s rich diversity and cultural commonalities, helping to develop a global perspective and skills valuable to employers in an increasingly global economy. The National Association for College and Employers’ 2018 Job Outlook reports that more than 30 percent of surveyed employers rate global and multicultural fluency as an essential attribute for college graduates entering the workforce—yet only 20 percent of their incoming employees are proficient in these cultural skills. Research has demonstrated that these attributes and qualities in students are cultivated through study abroad.
“Our future world will be shaped by UMD graduates with the knowledge and skills to collaborate across cultures to address pressing global challenges,” Dunsmore said. “It is vital that we continue to grow students’ access to these global experiences through inclusive practices that enrich their education and future opportunities.”