BYU Study Abroad Programs Recognized Nationally

Contributed By By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer

  • 17 December 2013

A view of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem from Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. Jerusalem is one of the many study abroad options available to students at BYU.

“For most students, it becomes a life-changing experience that enriches not only the rest of their undergraduate career but also the rest of their lives.” —Stanley Benfell, study abroad director

PROVO, UTAH

The 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released the week of November 14, ranked Brigham Young University among the top 25 schools sending students abroad.

BYU comes in at 21, with 1,808 students studying abroad. One major difference between BYU and the other schools in the top 25 is that BYU runs its own study abroad programs, unlike most of the other schools that rely on outside programs to send their students abroad.

The report also found that U.S. students studying abroad increased by three percent this year to an all-time high of more than 283,000. Despite the increase, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate years.

“When students study and live abroad in order to improve language proficiency, study the history and culture of another country, or further their experience in their major, they gain a perspective that is not available in Provo,” said Stanley Benfell, a professor of comparative literature and program director for several study abroad programs. “For most students, it becomes a life-changing experience that enriches not only the rest of their undergraduate career but also the rest of their lives.”

Student Kristen Hanson reports, “My global marketing program gave me the opportunity to tour world-class businesses and meet with their top executives in London, Rome, Florence, Venice, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Beijing, and Bangkok. I shared these experiences with some of the most amazing people and made lasting friendships with all of them. My study abroad was the greatest experience of my life thus far.”

New York University came in first, with 4,378 students studying abroad, followed by the University of Texas–Austin with 2,596, the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities at 2,508, Michigan State University with 2,380, and Indiana University–Bloomington with 2,328.

The only other western U.S. schools in the top 25 were UCLA at number 8 with 2,074 students and USC at number 9 with 2,065 students.