Tar Heel study abroad ranks 13th nationally

About 2,700 Carolina students, more than ever before, had a global educational experience in 2022-23.

Several students pose in front of the Eiffel Tower.
(Photo courtesy of Mikey Estrello.)

In its commitment to providing a global education for all students, UNC-Chapel Hill ranked 13th among U.S. institutions sending students abroad for academic credit during the 2022-23 academic year, according to the 2023 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange.

The annual report, published Nov. 13 by the Institute of International Education in Washington, D.C., is a comprehensive resource for data on international students and scholars in the U.S. and U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit.

Carolina also ranked 14th and 15th for participation in semester-long and short-term study abroad programs, respectively. These rankings serve as a testament to the University’s commitment to its Global Guarantee, which ensures that all Carolina students have access to a global education.

Barbara Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs and chief global officer, applauded the University’s achievement. “Last year, some 2,700 Tar Heels benefited from a study abroad experience — the highest number in UNC history,” she said. “Our students can be confident that a UNC study abroad program is supported by top professionals in the education abroad field and by solid partners on the ground.”

The Open Doors Report also sheds light on global trends, showcasing a notable increase in worldwide and U.S. international student enrollment. This surge signals a return to international mobility and scholarship, reflecting the resilience of global education in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whether it’s international students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals who travel to the United States to study with us, or American students and scholars who study abroad, international education is at the heart of shaping our shared future,” said Lee Satterfield, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in the annual Open Doors data release.

In the face of upheavals in international education caused by COVID-19 at institutions in the U.S. and abroad, Carolina’s Study Abroad Office in the College of Arts and Sciences and global programs teams across the University have steadfastly focused on ensuring student health, safety and advising, so that UNC students experienced minimal disruption to their global education plans.

“I celebrate the Study Abroad Office and our colleagues across campus for achieving the impressive accomplishment of ranking No. 13 nationally and No. 1 in North Carolina for sending students abroad, surpassing pre-pandemic participation levels,” said Jason Kinnear, associate dean of study abroad and exchanges. “We’re committed to providing transformative global learning opportunities and are thrilled that so many Tar Heels are making study abroad part of their education at Carolina.”

UNC-Chapel Hill’s rankings in the 2023 Open Doors Report underscore its role as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in global education, which includes global learning on campus through an extensive array of academic offerings in languages, area studies and globally focused courses.

“Carolina’s dedication to global education extends beyond just numbers,” Stephenson said. “We create experiential and high-impact learning — deeply connected to the UNC curriculum — that prepares Tar Heels to become leaders pursuing solutions to the challenges we will face in North Carolina and worldwide.”