Are you considering studying abroad and seeking information on top colleges with the best study abroad programs in the United States? This post highlights 11 colleges renowned for having the best study abroad programs for college students. This post is all about the 11 best study abroad programs in the United States. Explore the following list to discover which U.S. colleges offer the best study abroad programs.
You are going to be learning about the 11 best study abroad college programs for college students. As someone who was a college study abroad advisor, and who has studied in India, I know what makes a great study abroad program. The best study abroad programs have a few similarities. These similarities include academic excellence, student support services, security and safety, cultural immersion, affordability, housing options, among other factors. The best study abroad programs are life-changing. I know the program that I went on, changed my life forever.
To come up with the following list, we analyzed data from the Institute for International Education’s Open Door’s Report. Specifically, we looked at data from 2012- 2021. In this data, we examined leading institutions with the highest percentage of undergraduate participation in study abroad. Colleges on the baccalaureate, masters and universities, and doctoral levels were examined. Due to the differences in size between these three college levels, we focused on undergraduate participation. Institutions classified at the baccalaureate level, had to meet a 100%+ participation of college students. For the doctoral and masters institutions, the bar was slightly lower due to their size. Their percentage of students going abroad was sometimes lower. We believe it is due to having a bigger student population. For these institutions, we only looked at universities, masters or doctoral granting, that had more an 80% rate of students going abroad.
If we look at institutions leading institutions by study abroad total, we will get another result. For example, New York University, would be number one. But, the school is bigger. If you take the total number of students in the school by percentage of those who study abroad, the percentage is smaller. The schools below are smaller, but a larger percentage of their students study abroad.
Below are the schools in the United States that had the highest participation of students studying abroad from 2012-2022.
Arcadia University is a private university in Pennsylvania. On its Rankings and Outcomes page, it boosts that they are number one in Pennsylvania for study abroad and 11th nationally. Arcadia Abroad has over 130 programs in 12 countries around the world. These programs last different duration and caters to a diverse range of majors. About 70,000 students have studied with Arcadia Abroad, and each year, students from 200 colleges go abroad with Arcadia.
Centre College is a private liberal arts college with about 1,600 students in Danville, Kentucky. On Centre’s website, it states it’s one of the top colleges in study abroad. They have programs that are in 12 countries on five continents. Centre College prides itself with offering both options to study abroad but also to “study away.” When students “study away,” with Centre College they can choose to study at different locations in the United States. At Centre, about 85% of its students studies abroad, and 48% of students like it so much that they study abroad more than once.
Elon University is a private university located in Elon, North Carolina. On their website, Elon states they are number 1 in study abroad for the last 17 years (pre-Covid). Elon has over 100+ programs that allows students to have a rich global experience and take part in internships, research, and service opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to have a global experience while studying in a different part of the United States. At Elon, students can study away from anywhere from a week to two years.
Taylor University is ranked as a top 3 Midwest Colleges for 26 years and a top Christian liberal arts university in Indiana. At Taylor university, students can choose from semester or January short-term programs. Internationally, Taylor students can study in locations such as Hong Kong, Jordan, Uganda, and the United Kingdom. Taylor University’s study abroad office also offers semester long programs in New York City and Nashville.
Goucher College is a private liberal arts college located north of Baltimore. U.S. News And World Report ranked Goucher as having one of the best study abroad programs in the United States. At Goucher, 100% of their students graduate with some form of global experience. It was one of the first colleges in the United States to implement a 100% study abroad. Goucher students can choose from more than 100 partner colleges and 50 countries in which they can study. No matter a student’s major, schedule, or interests, there is a Goucher study abroad program available.
Wofford College is a private liberal arts college in South Carolina. On their website, the college states they are committed to celebrating diversity in a global and complex world. Students at Wofford College can have equitable access to global experiences through study abroad, research, service-learning, and internships.
Soka University is a private liberal arts college in Aliso Viejo, California. This university is a big fan of global experiences. They “cultivate global citizens and critical citizens with expansive worldviews prepared to provide leadership in a rapidly changing world” (Soka, 2024). Soka University is ranked as having one of the best study abroad programs in the country because students are required to study abroad in their Junior year at no additional cost. With Soka University, students study abroad in their target language. Languages include French, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish. The university offers their best study abroad programs in 15 countries around the world.
Source: Soka University, 2024, How Will You Use Your Life?, Soka University, soka.edu
DaPauw University is a private liberal arts college in Indiana. No matter their major, students at DePauw University can study abroad in more than 45 countries. Students can choose from semester and summer long programs, Winter Term in Service, and various practicum and internship experiences. Students can take part in service projects, research opportunities, internships, or foreign language studies.
St. Olaf College is a private liberal arts college in Minnesota. On their website, St. Olaf college boasts that they rank second in the amount of students that participate in study abroad programs. Their best study abroad programs connects students to local communities and gives them full cultural immersion. With programs in the United States, and over 40 countries around the world, students can choose among faculty led interim or semester programs, enroll with an academic partner, or self design a program or international internship that dives into area or language studies.
Pepperdine University is a private research university located in Los Angeles County, California. Study abroad is an integral part of of the college curriculum at Pepperdine. Since 1963, Pepperdine University students have studied abroad. Each of the five schools at Pepperdine offer international programs that aids in global learning for its students.
All students study abroad at Susquehanna University. This university, located in Pennsylvania, has their best study abroad programs built into their curriculum. With study abroad built into the college curriculum, Susquehanna University students can still graduate within four years. Susquehanna University students can study, intern, research, or volunteer with 70 programs in 35 countries. This university makes study abroad possible because every student with financial need receives a scholarship. Susquehanna also offers free passport assistance by covering passport fees and bringing passport agents to campus, helping with paperwork, and taking passport photos.
Source: Institute For International Education, Leading Institutions By Undergraduate Participation, IIE Open Doors, https://opendoorsdata.org/data/us-study-abroad/leading-institutions-by-undergraduate-participation/, 2024.
This post was all about the best college study abroad programs for college students in the United States. We examined leading institutions that have the highest undergraduate participation for study abroad from 2012-2022. This report is from the 2023 Open Doors Report. If you are looking for the best college study abroad programs in Europe or the best college study abroad programs for engineering, or even the best college study abroad programs summer, these schools may have a program for you.
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