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Cal Poly ranks second nationally in study abroad survey 

Cal Poly ranks second nationally in study abroad survey

Image from Cal Poly International Center.

–Cal Poly students are increasingly opting to study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education’s annual statistical survey of U.S. campuses for the 2018-19 academic year.

“Cal Poly has made top rankings — for the second year in a row — for master’s institutions for the total number of students we sent abroad in 2018-19 and for the number of students sent on mid-length study abroad programs that year,” said Cari Vanderkar, Cal Poly’s senior international officer and assistant vice provost for international programs. “While nationally about one in 10 U.S. undergraduates study abroad by the time of graduation, at Cal Poly about one in four undergraduate students studied abroad by the time of graduation in 2018-19.”

The Institute of International Education is the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the U.S. It has conducted the Open Doors report annual survey since 1919; since the early 1970s, it has been aided by support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Open Doors surveys about 2,000 U.S. universities and colleges with study abroad programs.

Since 2000, Cal Poly has ranked as a top sender in the nation among master’s level universities for internationally bound students.

In the 2018-19 year, the most current numbers available, Cal Poly sent 1,216 students — 556 seniors and 511 juniors — abroad to 44 nations. Participation in study abroad has increased by nearly 50 percent over the past five years. Cal Poly had 813 students participate in the 2013-14 academic year. Over the past 15 years, Cal Poly has seen participation in study abroad programs increase by nearly 116 percent, rising from 563 in 2003-04.

In the past two decades, the university also has ranked in the top 10 among those who study abroad for long-term (an academic year) and short-term durations of three months or less. And for mid-length programs, which run for a semester or a quarter, Cal Poly ranked first in the nation two years in a row. It has ranked in the top eight since 2004-05.

In the latest survey, Cal Poly was the top U.S. master’s university for mid-programs, with 728 students, an increase of nearly 78-percent over the 2013-14 survey. Last year, the university was also first in the nation with 681 students.

“International education provides rich opportunities for students to enhance their studies and to prepare for work and life in a global society,” Vanderkar said. “In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to provide opportunities for students to gain global competencies, either through virtual exchange platforms or through future abroad opportunities. As indicated in our vision statement, Learn by Doing in a global context drives students to critically evaluate themselves, their own cultures, their values, and their place in the world. It fuels informed global systems-thinkers and -doers and activates Cal Poly students to be positive forces in the world.”

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the A-Town Daily News wrote and edited this article from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog. He can be reached at

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