MSUToday
Published: Nov. 16, 2015

MSU is top 10 producer of global citizens

Contact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709 Kristen.Parker@cabs.msu.edu, James Dorsett Office for International Students and Scholars office: (517) 517-353-1720 jdorsett@msu.edu, Inge Steglitz Office of Study Abroad office: (517) 353-8920 steglitz@msu.edu

Michigan State University ranks in the top 10 for international student enrollment and study abroad participation, according to the Institute of International Education’s annual Open Doors Report released Nov. 16.

MSU ranks ninth in the nation – and first in the state of Michigan – for the number of enrolled international students, according to the report. In 2014-15, MSU hosted 8,146 international students on its campus – a rise of 5.7 percent from the previous year.

The report found the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities experienced the highest rate of growth in 35 years during the 2014-15 academic year. At MSU, the majority of international students came from China, followed by Korea and India. In fall 2014, MSU hosted more than 100 students from Iran and Iraq and more than 200 from Saudi Arabia.

“MSU has long been a leader in promoting opportunities for international education,” said James Dorsett, director of MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars. “Having strong programs for international students and study abroad participants is but one representation of our commitment to a strong, global campus that enhances our diversity and benefits everyone.”

MSU earned the No. 8 slot for study abroad participation with 2,478 MSU students studying overseas in 2013-14. It has one of the largest catalogs of international learning opportunities, offering more than 275 study abroad programs during all semesters in more than 60 countries on all continents. More than 30 percent of students study in nontraditional locations such as Asia, Latin America and Africa.

“Being in the top 10 for both Open Doors categories shows how MSU students are taking advantage of international education opportunities,” said Inge Steglitz, acting director of MSU’s Office of Study Abroad. “Domestic students are studying abroad outside the U.S. and students from abroad are undertaking international learning experiences by coming here to East Lansing. If you combine those two student populations, we’re talking about 10,000 MSU students engaged in international learning activities. That’s something in which all Spartans can take pride.”

MSU also exceeds the national average in total undergraduate study abroad participation, with 26 percent of students participating; the national average is 10 percent, according to IIE. Among science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors, MSU also exceeds the national average with 33 percent participation compared to 23 percent nationally.

Other key points:

  • In 2014-15, MSU saw a notable increase in international students from Brazil. And due to the success of the MasterCard Scholars Foundation Program, the campus also experienced a rise in students from the African countries of Ghana and Rwanda.
  • MSU’s international student population contributes $273 million to the greater Lansing economy.
  • The Eli Broad College of Business and the colleges of Engineering, Natural Science, Social Science and Agriculture and Natural Resources had the largest numbers of international students in fall 2014.
  • Among last summer’s roster of new study abroad programs was the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Fiji program, which was developed as part of a student competition partially funded by the MSU Federal Credit Union Dean’s Choice Award. In addition, as a pilot initiative, last summer students traveled to China’s Sichuan Province and visited agricultural and scientific-technology innovation sites. Funded in part by scholarships from the Coca-Cola Foundation, the program aims to help underrepresented students study entrepreneurship within complex agriculture and natural resources systems.
  • MSU also hosts the Freshman Seminars Abroad program, during which incoming first-year students can participate in experiences across the globe from New Zealand to Iceland, a new location for 2016. Research shows 50 percent of FSA students study abroad again.


The release of the Open Doors data marks the celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education.

As part of International Education Week, MSU will host its annual Learning Abroad Conference from noon to 7 p.m. Friday at the International Center. Students will present about their study abroad experiences and international students will give presentations. The conference is free and open to the public.

Studying abroad made a lasting impression on Christopher Murphy, a senior majoring in Chinese in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages and minoring in French in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies, and a Boren Scholarship recipient.

Studying abroad made a lasting impression on Christopher Murphy, a senior majoring in Chinese in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages and minoring in French in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies, and a Boren Scholarship recipient.

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