Published on 11/17/2020 10:14:27 AM
For the fifth consecutive year, Texas A&M University ranks as the top U.S. public institution for the number of students pursuing credit-bearing international experiences.
Commonly referred to as “study abroad,” students also participated in volunteer, research and internship opportunities. The ranking is for travel during the academic year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 Open Doors Report by the Institute of International Education (IIE) shows that Texas A&M had 3,768 students enrolled in credit-bearing education abroad programs for 2018-19, placing it first among public institutions and No. 2 overall. The total number of Texas A&M students participating in international experiences, including non-credit bearing experiences, was 5,648 in 2018-19.
“Texas A&M has made international education a priority, and it shows by the number of students we send abroad each year,” said Education Abroad Executive Director Holly Hudson. “It is quickly becoming an Aggie tradition and an expectation of many incoming students.”
She said while the pandemic has significantly decreased the number of students going abroad, it has highlighted the importance of global awareness and cooperation.
“Education Abroad professionals worldwide have been developing new, innovative ways for students to continue to engage internationally during the pandemic,” Hudson said. “My hope is that we will see an increase in traditional study abroad participation post-pandemic. I also expect the growth of virtual programs will continue, and access to education abroad will expand as a result.”
Of the total number of students who pursued an education abroad program in 2018-19, more than 21 percent were first-generation students. About 43 percent of total participants identified as non-white, and a fifth of total participants reported being Hispanic or Latino.
“Going abroad is often misrepresented as unattainable, but, in reality, this is truly an opportunity open to all,” Hudson said. “I think this is evident with the increased diversity we see in our education abroad programs.”
Numerous funding opportunities are available for students interested in education abroad programs. Texas A&M provides about $1.5 million annually in scholarships exclusively for international programs. On average, about 30 percent of participants come from households with a family income of less than $80,000 a year.
Education abroad programs are available for any degree or classification. In 2018-19, Texas A&M students traveled to 110 different countries spanning every continent. The top five destinations were Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain and France. Abroad programs can range anywhere from one week in duration to a full academic year.
“As a first-generation student, my experience abroad allowed me to experience life surrounded by another culture. I was able to try and learn new things,” said Alexander Medina, a senior management major from Pharr, Texas. “Becoming more of a global citizen is one of my new goals now after my experience abroad, and I hope to represent Texas A&M abroad again in the near future.”
To review the full breakdown of Education Abroad statistics at Texas A&M, visit the Education Abroad Overview on the university’s Accountability website. To learn more about Education Abroad, and to explore available opportunities, visit the Education Abroad website.