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Nov. 17, 2014

MSU top producer of global citizens

In its mission to create global citizens by providing a culturally diverse campus and immersion experiences abroad, Michigan State University leads the state in international student enrollment and study abroad participation, according to a new report placing MSU in the top 10 nationally for both.

Released today, the Institute for International Education’s annual Open Doors Report ranks MSU ninth in the nation for international student enrollment, with 7,704 international students enrolled during the 2013-14 academic year – a 14 percent increase from the previous year. At the same time, 2,514 students studied abroad in 2012-13, landing MSU the No. 5 spot nationally for study abroad participation.

China, Korea and India are the top three countries of origin for MSU international students.

“There is incredible value in the kind of international education that comes outside the classroom,” said Steven Hanson, associate provost and dean of international studies and programs. “Engaging with international students on campus and cultural immersion experiences through study abroad shapes our students’ global perspective, leading to success far beyond graduation.”

Michigan State has one of the largest catalogs of international learning opportunities, offering more than 275 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries on all continents.

Earlier this year, MSU committed to a national effort to increase study abroad participation through Generation Study Abroad by 2020. To align with the Bolder by Design framework that focuses on student success, MSU has pledged to expand participation, particularly to high-need, first-generation and minority students, and double endowments for study abroad scholarships.

Meeting these goals will result in a more diverse student body going abroad and a greater variety of experiences in which they participate, said Brett Berquist, executive director of MSU’s Office of Study Abroad. Joining this national movement not only allows MSU to highlight its goals for study abroad, but it also increases visibility to students who think study abroad isn’t an option for them.

“Emerging research on the value of study abroad as a high-impact learning strategy shows that students who study abroad take less time to graduate and have higher retention rates,” Berquist said. “According to our own Collegiate Employment Research Institute at MSU, study abroad can help students accelerate the development of skills employers are looking for and help position our graduates for a successful career.”

He said MSU continues to offer new and innovative programming that affords students the opportunity to learn through community engagement projects in global communities, conduct research abroad as an undergraduate student and complete an international internship. When students return to campus, MSU helps them reflect on, and process, their experience to identify the skills that matter to employers through its Unpacking Workshops, run in collaboration with Career Services.

MSU takes pride in producing graduates who can compete anywhere, especially in an increasingly interconnected world, said Elizabeth Matthews, assistant director of the Office for International Students and Scholars. And that happens both on campus, where international students hail from more than 130 countries, and abroad, where students study in such remote places as Antarctica.

“MSU believes international study should be part of the student experience, and we take pride in offering our students a culturally diverse campus,” she said. “In addition, such diverse experiences allow our students to build cross-cultural communication skills they will need to succeed in a global marketplace.”

By: Kristen Parker