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Rochester’s global community continues to grow

December 3, 2018
Infographic on national study abroad destinations: UK 12%, Italy 11%, Spain 9%, Ireland, China and Germany 4%, Australia and Costa Rica 3%, Japan 2%

The top destinations for students from the U.S. studying abroad, according to IIE’s Open Doors 2018 report. The trends for Rochester students closely reflect these patterns. (Source:

According to Open Doors 2018, the comprehensive report on international education trends released each November by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the University of Rochester is continuing its growth in international engagement.

Open Doors lists the University No. 61—up from No. 73 a year ago and 76 the previous year—for international student enrollment among the more than 1,500 U.S. institutions surveyed. With just over 4,000 undergraduate and graduate internationals on a student visa sponsorship in the 2017-18 academic year, international students represent about 30 percent of the total student body. The leading countries of origin of undergraduate and graduate students here are China, India, South Korea and Canada.

Overall in the U.S., the total number of international students increased and reached an all-time high of 1,094,792 in 2017-18. However, Open Doors reports a 6.6 percent drop in new international students studying at colleges and universities across the U.S.—a trend that Rochester does not reflect. More new international students came to the University this fall than the year before.

“Rochester has a long history of attracting international students and engaging globally. Our first international student enrolled in 1852, and having a robust and well-integrated international student body is just part of who we are,” says Jane Gatewood, vice provost for Global Engagement. “The opportunities for that growth continue as we strengthen our institutional connections for teaching and research around the world.”

Open Doors reports that New York State continues to be the second-leading host state for all international students, behind California.


Education Abroad

The Open Doors report also highlights the annual trends in U.S. students studying abroad, and overall these numbers grew by 2.3 percent in 2016-17 to 332,727.

In 2016-17, 398 Rochester students went abroad for an academic program, with most choosing to do so for a semester during their junior year. The University’s Center for Education Abroad cites the top student destinations as being the United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark and Italy, reflecting some of the national trends seen through Open Doors.

According to Tynelle Stewart, assistant dean and director of Education Abroad, Rochester students are showing an increased interest in the programs available through the University’s partner and exchange programs with universities around the world. For example, a yearlong exchange program with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore allows Rochester undergraduates to spend a full year there. The Eastman School of Music also offers a number of programs via its Conservatory Exchange Program. And the faculty-led “French in France” program in the city of Rennes—a sister city of Rochester—has been a partner program for more than 40 years.

“Another trend for our students is the growing interest in short-term abroad options, specifically some of the summer programs,” said Stewart. “And it’s both our domestic and international  students at all levels who are seeking these experiences.” The Simon Business School has international course offerings in Europe, Latin America, and Asia that help give MBA students insights into international businesses and organizations.

Stewart notes also that engineering majors are increasingly heading abroad, an option made much easier in recent years through partnerships such as IIE’s Global E3, which helps students in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences select a program from among 39 engineering schools in 23 countries.

“Increasingly, undergraduates from throughout the College are selecting programs that combine an internship or research opportunity abroad with the traditional coursework,” says Stewart. “And our faculty-led programs, which often focus on a student research experience, continue to grow.” Stewart notes that Education Abroad will soon host more workshops for faculty who wish to develop and lead a program abroad.

The release of IIE’s Open Doors report marks the celebration of International Education Week (IEW), a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. Throughout IEW week at the University—as well as the month of November—many events highlighted the contributions that international students make to Rochester, as well as the opportunities for University students to have a global educational experience.

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