The Institute for International Education, part of the U.S. Department of State, recently put Northern Arizona University in the top 20 national list for universities that send students on year-long study abroad programs, the first time NAU was included in such a ranking.

NAU is ranked No. 17, based on the institutional type, doctorate-granting university, and the duration of the study abroad. Eric Deschamps, associate director for the Center for International Education (CIE), said more students are studying abroad this year than in previous years, so he expects NAU to be in the top 10 for the 2017-18 rankings.

“This is a major accomplishment for NAU because the universities that typically make it on these lists are either large or composed of wealthy students,” he said. “You can see that our company on the list includes institutions such as New York University, Florida State, William and Mary and UCLA.”

NAU had 58 students participate in a year-long study abroad program last year, which is a considerable measure for a small university.

Long-term study abroad programs are significant for students because these programs allow students to become more knowledgeable about foreign cultures and languages, Deschamps said. These programs allow for students to immerse themselves in a foreign culture, which promotes academic and personal growth.

The CIE’s goal is to prepare students to be globally competent at the time of graduation.

NAU offers a number of different study abroad programs ranging from a few weeks to a year. While the Interdisciplinary Global Program (IGP), which gives students a semester of going to school abroad and a semester of working or doing research abroad, has been a continued contribution to long-term enrollments, most students who take part in long-term programs are traditional study abroad students.

The complete ranking list for 2017 can be found online.


RELATED NEWS: In January, the Institute for International Education recognized the NAU and the Interdisciplinary Global Program as one of the recipients of the Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. Participating students in engineering, business and international affairs enroll in a five-year, double-major degree plan. They spend a year abroad, with one semester taking classes and one semester doing an internship, then present internship projects in their language of study. They graduate with degrees in their chosen major plus a degree in either a language or cultural studies.