Belmont University ranked no. 17 among U.S. higher education institutions for undergraduate student participation in study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.
The Open Doors ranking is based on the total number of a higher education institution’s undergraduate students who study abroad. The report highlighted that nationally, about 16 percent of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree study abroad before graduating. Almost 58 percent of Belmont’s undergraduates study abroad before graduation, one of the highest rates for a public or private university in the U.S. 810 Belmont undergraduate students studied abroad in 2017-2018, an increase of 16 percent over the previous year.
Dr. Thandi Dinani, director of global education, said, “Belmont’s growth in study abroad is a natural byproduct of an environment filled with creative faculty who find ways to use the world as their classroom and curious students who want to engage with the world around them. When you have such a unique combination, learning is limitless, destination possibilities are endless and the overall impact on Belmont is immeasurable. Students return to campus and are able to discuss and connect experiences abroad to information they are currently learning – this furthers the understanding of everyone in their classes, residence halls and interactions throughout campus.”
Open Doors also found that the overall number of U.S. students studying abroad increased by 2.7 percent to 341,751 over the previous year. With a Vision 2020 emphasis on increasing participation in the University’s study abroad programs, Belmont’s overall study abroad numbers have risen 109 percent in recent years, from 467 undergraduate and graduate students in 2013-14 to 978 this past year.
Dr. Mimi Barnard, associate provost for international studies and global education, said, “Once again, we are pleased to learn of our high, national ranking for study abroad. Students actually choose to come to Belmont, not just because of our exemplary, academic programs, but also because of the many study abroad opportunities we provide—short-term, faculty-led programs, international internships, semesters abroad, exchange, direct enroll, etc. Now, our new Honors curriculum embeds a semester of study abroad for student groups with a faculty leader. This variety of international opportunities shows that we are committed to providing students with ways to engage and transform the world—it’s part of our institutional mission. Our students are provided the ability to develop global perspective and international networks, highly valuable as they enter the workplace.”
Open Doors is published annually by IIE in partnership with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.