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MSU is top public university for study abroad
Contributed by Deb Hammacher, MSU Today   
MSU is the top public university in the United States for study abroad according to “Open Doors 2005,” the annual report on international education released by the Institute of International Education.

During the 2003-04 academic year, the most recent year for which data is available, 2,269 MSU students studied abroad, second only to New York University among all colleges and universities. National data reflects an increase in study abroad participation of 9.6 percent for 2003-04. At MSU, participation grew by 21.7 percent during that time.

“Ranking Michigan State’s study abroad program number one among public universities across the country underscores the strength of our institutional commitment to advancing our historic land-grant mission toward ‘world-grant,’” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “Some sort of international experience or understanding has become a necessity in today’s world, and by offering our students access to such opportunities, we prepare them to be citizen leaders with a global understanding.”

MSU’s program options are among the most diverse, with more than 200 programs in 60 countries on all continents. Programs range in length from two to six weeks to a semester or full academic year, and they are offered during each session, including winter and spring break.

“MSU is active in every world region,” said Jeffrey Riedinger, acting dean of international studies and programs. “Despite continuing funding challenges for public higher education, MSU is enhancing its commitment to internationalization of the campus and international engagement.”

Some of MSU’s newest offerings include innovative programs for science and engineering, options in Geneva and Cologne that incorporate an internship with academic study, and a program in Madagascar that looks at how natural resources have shaped the culture of the island nation.

Historically it has been difficult for science majors to make study abroad work in their course of study, but MSU has several options. A new program in Sweden, Renewable Biobased Energy Systems, is a joint effort from the Colleges of Engineering, and Agriculture and Natural Resources in cooperation with the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife is sponsoring Fish, Wildlife and Environmental Issues in Russia. Students in the College of Human Medicine even have the option to do a brief program in Costa Rica.

Other facts about Michigan State’s international presence:

  • Has more than 25 internationally-focused centers, institutes, offices and programs, including ones focused on world area studies, international development, language education and research, international business education, agriculture, gender and health. Hosts the Japan Center for Michigan Universities in Hikone, Japan, which is administered by MSU and offers programs in Japan on behalf of all 15 public universities in Michigan.

  • Developed and maintains MSU Global Access (, a Web-based directory with more than 8,000 annotated links to information about the world including country information, maps and news.

  • Has approximately 1,300 faculty engaged in international scholarship and instruction abroad.

  • Has grown from 12 study abroad programs in nine countries in 1970 to more than 200 programs in more than 60 countries today on all continents, including Antarctica.

  • Offers “Freshman Seminars Abroad” in which incoming freshmen participate in a summer international experience before they arrive on the East Lansing campus.

  • Has hosted international students since the 1870s and currently has an international community of more than 4,000 students, scholars and their family members.

  • 3,293 international students from 127 countries are studying at MSU as of fall 2005; the largest numbers are from China, Korea, India, Taiwan, Canada and Japan. MSU is ranked 20 in “Open Doors 2005” for universities hosting the most international students.

  • 2,003 MSU alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers since the agency was established in 1961, making MSU only the fifth university to surpass the 2,000 mark. 81 MSU graduates currently are serving as Peace Corps volunteers in 33 countries around the world.
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