The Best States, Colleges, and Programs for Studying Abroad [INFOGRAPHIC]

Choosing a college is a huge decision. You have to consider locations, majors, job opportunities, and dozens of other factors.

Which is the most important to you?

For some students, study abroad opportunities can be the deciding factor. International experience and foreign-language competency are becoming must-haves in the workplace. Seventy-three percent of employers cite study abroad as important when evaluating resumes.

If international study opportunities are important to you, check out the infographic below. We’ve outlined the top states, colleges, and programs for studying abroad.

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Full text and state lists below.


Study Abroad, Step 1: The Best States, Schools, and Programs for Going Abroad

Most students don’t think about study abroad when choosing a college, but international opportunities differ greatly between universities. Before you decide where to study, find out which states, colleges, and programs are best for going abroad.

Which States Have the Most Students Studying Abroad?

State
Students Who Studied Abroad

1. California
25,609

2. New York
23,130

3. Pennsylvania
16,792

4. Massachusetts
12,498

5. Texas
11,103

6. Ohio
10,362

7. Indiana
9,552

8. North Carolina
9,526

9. Illinois
8,914

10. Minnesota
8,706

11. Michigan
8,475

12. Virginia
7,909

13. Florida
7,645

14. Georgia
7,336

15. Wisconsin
6,391

16. Washington
5,855

17. Iowa
5,368

18. Washington DC
5,251

19. Maryland
5,139

20. Missouri
4,604

21. Colorado
4,593

22. Connecticut
3,866

23. Tennessee
3,753

24. Oregon
3,539

25. Utah
3,377

26. Arizona
3,327

27. Kentucky
3,325

28. South Carolina
3,212

29. New Jersey
2,843

30. Rhode Island
2,417

31. Alabama
2,384

32. Kansas
2,308

33. Vermont
1,799

34. Oklahoma
1,644

35. Nebraska
1,598

36. Delaware
1,375

37. Maine
1,339

38. West Virginia
1,270

39. Louisiana
1,132

40. Arkansas
1,068

41. New Hampshire
953

42. Nevada
821

43. Mississippi
646

44. South Dakota
625

45. Hawaii
602

46. New Mexico
540

47. Montana
510

48. Idaho
428

49. Wyoming
380

50. Alaska
279

51. North Dakota
278

Study abroad numbers are highly correlated with each state’s population and number of undergraduate students. Each of the six states with the most study abroad students are also in the top ten of total student population.

Massachusetts is the biggest overachiever. The Bay State ranks 10th in student population and 4th in study abroad students.

Which States Have the Highest Percentage of Students Studying Abroad?

State
Percentage of Students Who Studied Abroad

1. Washington DC
5.71%

2. Vermont
4.69%

3. Rhode Island
3.59%

4. Delaware
3.43%

5. Massachusetts
3.13%

6. Wyoming
2.91%

7. North Carolina
2.90%

8. Indiana
2.78%

9. Pennsylvania
2.78%

10. Connecticut
2.76%

11. Minnesota
2.68%

12. Washington
2.64%

13. Oregon
2.58%

14. Maine
2.53%

15. California
2.44%

16. New York
2.44%

17. Wisconsin
2.41%

18. Maryland
2.27%

19. Virginia
2.14%

20. South Carolina
2.12%

21. Ohio
2.06%

22. Iowa
1.95%

23. Michigan
1.94%

24. Georgia
1.91%

25. Kentucky
1.86%

26. Kansas
1.83%

27. Colorado
1.80%

28. Illinois
1.73%

29. Nebraska
1.70%

30. Utah
1.67%

31. New Hampshire
1.58%

32. Tennessee
1.56%

33. Missouri
1.44%

34. Texas
1.42%

35. Hawaii
1.30%

36. South Dakota
1.21%

37. Montana
1.21%

38. New Jersey
1.09%

39. Oklahoma
1.07%

40. Alabama
1.05%

41. West Virginia
1.00%

42. Arkansas
0.94%

43. Alaska
0.85%

44. Florida
0.80%

45. New Mexico
0.75%

46. Nevada
0.74%

47. Mississippi
0.70%

48. Louisiana
0.64%

49. Idaho
0.61%

50. Arizona
0.61%

51. North Dakota
0.56%

The states with the highest percentage of students studying abroad are mostly small, northeastern states. Massachusetts overachieved in raw numbers because its students study abroad at the 5th highest rate.

Which Universities Have the Most Students Studying Abroad?

Top Institutions Awarding Credit for Study Abroad, Ranked by Student Total

School
Study Abroad Students

1. New York University
3,799

2. Michigan State University
2,577

3. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
2,562

4. University of California, Los Angeles
2,451

5. University of Texas, Austin
2,350

6. University of Southern California
2,340

7. Indiana University, Bloomington
2,203

8. University of Pennsylvania
2,198

9. University of Wisconsin, Madison
2,159

10. University of Washington
2,152

11. Penn State University, University Park
2,087

12. University of Georgia
2,079

13. University of Florida
2,075

Aside from NYU, this list is dominated by very large, public universities. But small schools have great study abroad programs too. To find them, let’s look at the schools that send the highest percentage of their students abroad.

Which Universities Have the Highest Percentage of Students Studying Abroad?

Institutions by Undergraduate Participation in Study Abroad: Top Doctorate-Granting Institutions

School
% Undergraduate Participation in Study Abroad

1. University of San Diego
86.8%

2. Pepperdine University
75.9%

3. Wake Forest University
72.3%

4. Yeshiva University
71.7%

5. American University
70.9%

6. University of Denver
64.3%

7. Yale University
63.2%

8. Dartmouth College
59.9%

9. University of Notre Dame
59.7%

10. Duke University
53.4%

11. Georgetown University
52.7%

Surprisingly, this list has no overlap with the previous list of schools. NYU was the closest to making it with 45.5% of its students studying abroad.

Top Study Abroad Providers by Student Ratings

Most universities work with study abroad providers to offer their students more options. Check to see if your school supports studying abroad with these highly-rated programs.

Program
Student Rating

1. The Education Abroad Network
99%

2. AIFS
96%

3. API
96%

4. GlobaLinks
95%

5. IES Abroad
95%

6. ISA
95%

7. USAC
94%

8. China Study Abroad
94%

9. Central College Abroad
92%

10. CAPA
92%

Thanks to Go Overseas for providing their student ratings.

Conclusion

Give yourself the best chance to study abroad by applying to large universities that send thousands of students abroad or to smaller schools where a high percentage of students study abroad.

When choosing a school, look at the details of its study abroad programs. Make sure that the school has a program in the country where you want to study. Once you’re accepted into a study abroad program, you’ll need to pay for it. Research scholarship opportunities as early as possible to make sure that you can afford the program of your dreams.

Please share your study abroad experiences and plans in the comments.

All data for 2010-11. Sources: Institute of International Education, National Center for Education Statistics

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About Fred Perrotta

Fred Perrotta is an entrepreneur and traveler. Unable to find a great piece of luggage for a backpacking trip to Eastern Europe in 2009, he co-founded Tortuga Backpacks to create the ultimate travel backpack. He's lived in, worked in, and traveled to over a dozen countries. His favorite meal abroad was spicy beef ramen in Tokyo.

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