GW inches higher in study abroad rankings

GW was ranked No. 12 for undergraduates at research institutions who study abroad, climbing 10 spots in a national study from last year.

About 53 percent of undergraduates studied abroad from fall 2010 to spring 2011, the latest figures that were factored into the Institute for International Education’s annual Open Doors report.

GW shot up in four categories, breaking into the top 10 for doctoral institutions with students who go abroad long-term and those who go for a semester. The University moved up three spots to the No. 22 university for total number of students who study abroad at institutions that award credit for study abroad.

“We’re at the highest we’ve ever been,” Director of GW’s Office of Study Abroad Rob Hallworth said. “We saw a healthy jump.”

Despite the election this month, which Hallworth said typically spurs students to stay in the District, more students went abroad this fall than Hallworth said he anticipated.

The number of students going abroad this fall fell about 6 percent compared to last fall. Four years ago, study abroad participation dropped 13 percent, which Hallworth said could be because of “more enthusiasm about the first Obama campaign” and more students wanting to be in the District.

“You’re here for one presidential cycle. Most students have internships in the political world. It makes sense that they want to be here during that exciting time,” Hallworth said.

Hallworth added that the office expects more students to study abroad this spring or next fall because some still want to go abroad after the election.

“There’s always going to be a boom after a lull. The fall 2009 numbers were pretty strong, but it always depends on what’s going on with the economy,” Hallworth said.

The University has paved the way for more rapid growth of its study abroad programs in its 10-year strategic plan. The program has already been increasing steadily over the past decade.

Hallworth said the top five countries students studied in include France, England, Spain, China and Italy, which have held the top spots for the past several years.

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