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Friday, July 1, 2022

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SDSU student Brandon Einstoss in Switzerland SDSU student Brandon Einstoss in Switzerland

SDSU Study Abroad Participation Reaches New Milestone

Student participation increased 14 percent in the 2016-17 academic year.
By Michael Klitzing

“Spending time in other countries and participating in study and research greatly enhances the educational experience of being a student at SDSU.”

Already ranked a top-10 university for study abroad in the United States, San Diego State University has reached a new milestone. For the first time in its history, SDSU has surpassed 3,000 students participating in studying abroad in one year.

A record 3,039 SDSU students studied abroad during the 2016-17 academic year, according to new numbers released by SDSU’s Office of International Programs. This total represents an increase of 14 percent over the university’s previous record of 2,659, set during the 2015-16 academic year.

“More and more students are requesting international experiences, as the recent increases in study abroad indicate,” said Alan Sweedler, associate vice president for Academic Affairs – International Programs.

“The main reason for this increasing demand is that students and faculty recognize its value, both educationally and personally,” Sweedler said. “Spending time in other countries and participating in study and research greatly enhances the educational experience of being a student at SDSU.”

A collective commitment

Study abroad at SDSU encompasses a broad range of international activities, including studying at a foreign university, traveling with a faculty member as part of a course or participating in internships, volunteer programs and research experiences.

Increasing high-impact practices such as study abroad are an important focus of SDSU’s strategic plan, “Building on Excellence.” Thirty-one majors across six colleges, including all students in the College of Health and Human Services and the Weber Honors College, now have an international experience requirement.

The university’s Division of Student Affairs also maintains strategic goals to support student experiences abroad. In recent years, the division has introduced SDSU’s Passport Office and helped to increase opportunities for students studying in other countries.
 SDSU student Brittany Jones in Ghana
SDSU student Brittany Jones in Ghana
“The growth we’ve seen in the numbers going abroad could not have been achieved without collaboration across the SDSU campus and our dedication to the belief that studying abroad is one of the most transformative learning experiences for students,” said Noah Hansen, director of the International Student Center. “It’s our collective belief as a campus that global citizenship is strengthened through international study, volunteer work and internship opportunities. The professionals who work to help students be successful in international education make all the difference.”

While SDSU maintained its strong numbers in programs lasting 10 weeks or more (889 in 2016-17, compared to 895 in 2015-16), other types of programs saw significant growth. In the last academic year, service learning and volunteer programs attracted 299 students, up from only 39 the previous year. The number of students involved in all programs of fewer than 10 weeks (most of which are faculty-led programs), increased 22 percent from 1,764 to 2,150.

“These numbers represent a major commitment from faculty members,” said Adrienne Richart, director of faculty-led study abroad in the College of Extended Studies. Richart noted that during the 2016-17 academic year, SDSU faculty members led 53 CES programs to 23 countries during winter break, spring break and summer. This work happened as an extension of their regular duties during the semester, she said.

“We’re lucky to have such dedicated faculty members who actively engage in study abroad because they know international education often has transformational benefits for their students.”

New rankings on the way

SDSU was most recently ranked ninth in the nation in study abroad participation, according to the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors Report released during fall 2017, which compared 2014-15 participation data. SDSU was the only public institution in the state of California to appear in the top 10. The new Open Doors Report rankings, which will include 2015-16 study abroad numbers, will be published later this month.

To learn more about the study abroad experiences of SDSU students, visit the SDSU Be International blog or follow SDSU Be International on Instagram.


Katie White
Media Relations Officer
(619) 594-2585

Cory Marshall
Media Relations Officer
(619) 594-0279