BYU ranked No. 21 among 25 top U.S. universities sending their students to study abroad in 2013 Open Doors Report on the Institute of International Education (IIE) website.
According to BYU News, BYU currently has 1,808 students studying abroad. What really sets BYU apart from other universities is that BYU has its own study abroad programs, whereas most other universities rely on outside programs to send students to study abroad.
Open Doors also found that the number of U.S. students studying abroad increased three percent this year to an all-time high of 283,000 students. BYU News said even though there has been an increase, less than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad during their undergraduate careers.
“We need to increase substantially the number of U.S. students who go abroad so that they too can gain the international experience which is so vital to career success and deepening mutual understanding,” IIE President Allen E. Goodman said in a BYU News press release.
One BYU professor said living outside of Provo in another culture can be a life-changing experience.
Stanley Benfell, a professor of comparative literature and program director for several study abroad programs, told BYU News, “When students study and live abroad in order to improve language proficiency, study the history and culture of another country or further their experience in their major, they gain a perspective that is not available in Provo. For most students, it becomes a life-changing experience that enriches not only the rest of their undergraduate career but also the rest of their lives.”
Students also recognize the importance of gaining experience through studying abroad.
Kristen Hanson, a BYU student, sharing her experience with BYU News, said, “My global marketing program gave me the opportunity to tour world-class businesses and meet with their top executives in London, Rome, Florence, Venice, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Beijing and Bangkok. I shared these experiences with some of the most amazing people and made lasting friendships with all of them. My study abroad was the greatest experience of my life thus far.”
BYU News reported other rankings from the study. First, New York University came in with 4,378 students studying abroad. It was followed by the University of Texas–Austin with 2,596, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities at 2,508, Michigan State University with 2,380 and Indiana University–Bloomington with 2,328.
The press release also reported that only two universities in the Western United States, in addition to BYU, made the top 25. Coming in at No. 8 is UCLA with 2,074 students, and USC ranked No. 9 with 2,065 students.