Elon ranked #1 in study abroad

Elon University has once again been recognized by the Institute of International Education for the highest percentage rate of study abroad participation in the nation.

For the 18th year, Elon University has been recognized as a national leader in study abroad in the Institute of International Education’s annual Open Doors Report.

Fiona Neely ’24, an environmental and sustainability major, spent a semester in the Kingdom of Bhutan, which is one of the few carbon-negative countries in the world. Neely’s dream was to hike the Himalayas and learn how culture and politics play a role in the management of that environment.

Elon is ranked #1 in the percentage of undergraduate students who participate in study abroad among doctoral universities, this year with the highest percentage in Elon’s history at 87.8%. Elon also ranked #12 among doctoral universities nationally in the total number of students completing mid-length study abroad programs and #26 among doctoral universities in total number of students studying abroad. Mid-length programs are longer than eight weeks and last up to a semester.

“We’re thrilled to see the rebound in study abroad following the pandemic. At Elon, we never fully closed, other than for the spring of 2020, but opportunities were severely limited,” noted Nick Gozik, dean of global education. “We have since seen a strong rebound, with Elon achieving its highest-ever percentage of study abroad percentage. This is an incredible feat, which demonstrates the strong demand of students and faculty to engage in global education.”

The top doctoral universities recognized by the Institute of International Education for study abroad participation include:

  1. Elon University
  2. University of Notre Dame
  3. Wake Forest University
  4. Yeshiva University
  5. Pepperdine University
  6. College of William and Mary
  7. Harding University
  8. Boston University
  9. Syracuse University
  10. Gonzaga University

The Open Doors 2023 Report on International Educational Exchange includes total U.S. study abroad participation and is widely regarded as the measure of education abroad. This year’s report, which examines the 2021-22 academic year, noted that levels of study abroad participation continue to bounce back from a decline brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2021-22 academic year, 188,753 students pursued study abroad opportunities, still below pre-pandemic levels but a sharp increase from the year before. The Institute for Intenational Education’s 2023 Spring Snapshot Survey reported that 83% of U.S. institutions expected study abroad totals to increase in 2022-23 and beyond.

Madison George ’23, a member of Elon’s track and field team, during the team’s global experience in Greece that included learning and competition.

With a commitment to 100% access, Elon encourages participation in study abroad through scholarships for students who cannot afford the additional cost of international study, along with several innovative and targeted opportunities. For instance, Elon’s student-athletes study and compete abroad as a team, a commitment that ensures all student-athletes have the opportunity for a global experience. This initiative dovetails with the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center (GEC)’s five-year, 52-point diversity, equity, and inclusion plan. Other recent efforts have included Elon’s hosting of the third annual Global Pedagogy Workshop with a focus on cultivating community, wellbeing and belonging to maximize study away learning.

Academic programs also leverage strong international connections to provide students with global experiences. One such opportunity is Elon’s partnership with the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and Arcadia University in Pennsylvania for a semester-long experience for students in the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education, a program that was renewed this spring.