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BYU in top 20 of U.S. universities with students studying abroad

The Institute of International Education has released its annual Open Doors report on U.S. students studying abroad, listing Brigham Young University in the top 20 schools sending the most students abroad.

This ranking shows the dedication of BYU's faculty and administration, according to Lynn Elliott, International Study Programs director at the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. “It also represents the efforts of many faculty and administrators who see the value of international education and who are willing to do the hard work necessary to make these opportunities available to students."

Major differences between BYU and the other universities in the top twenty are that BYU runs its own programs, sends out primarily its own students and offers 60 unique programs for academic credit.

The number of all American students studying abroad for academic credit increased by 9.6 percent in the 2003-2004 year, building on the previous year’s 8.5 percent increase. This surge in interest increased the total number of U.S. students abroad to a record of 191,321.

Since the 2000-2001 academic year, the number of U.S. students studying abroad has gone up by about 20 percent. Although the majority of students study abroad in Europe, there were significant increases in the number of students studying in other host countries, including several nations in which English is not the primary language.

Study abroad in non-traditional destinations is expanding rapidly, especially to countries where American students see potential career opportunities. Of particular note are large increases in the number of Americans studying in China and India—two countries of growing economic importance to the United States.

The “top ten” host destinations, including England, Spain, France, Australia, Mexico, Germany, Ireland and Costa Rica, experienced increases from 5 to 7 percent.

For additional statistics on American students studying abroad, visit, and for more information about International Study Programs at BYU, visit the Kennedy Center’s website at

Writer: Lee Simons

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