Northern Arizona University has steadily increased its national ranking in the annual Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Open Doors Report for long-term study abroad, ranking No. 6 in the nation.
Over the past four years, NAU’s ranking has moved from No. 17 in 2017 to No. 11 in 2018 to No. 7 last year and now to No. 6 in the most recent report (using 2018 academic year data). The study looks at doctoral-granting, long-term study abroad institutions that last a year or more. In the 2018 academic year, 2.1 percent of U.S. students studied abroad.
The Education Abroad (EA) and Interdisciplinary Global Programs (IGP) teams within the Center for International Education provide NAU students with opportunities to study abroad in more than 250 programs across 80 countries, for as little as a week to more than one year. Both teams collaborate with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) to find programs that accept NAU merit scholarships and federal aid to enable international mobility opportunities for all NAU students.
“Accessibility is a core priority for NAU’s study abroad opportunities, which is why IGP and EA place such a strong focus on exchange programs. Exchange programs are the most affordable way for students to study abroad and can even cost less than a year in Flagstaff in some cases,” said IGP director Melissa Armstrong. “With inclusion as the starting point, our programs are designed to attract and support a wide diversity of students. The model is working; over half the IGP population are students of color, 47 percent are first-generation college students and 28 percent are Honors students. The best way to positive change is together.”
In addition to studying abroad, the EA team works closely with academic departments to support a range of credit-bearing global learning experiences for students, that also include opportunities to intern and volunteer.
“NAU students spending an academic year abroad gain a deep sense of living and being part of the community while studying or working for a year or longer in another country,” EA director Angelina Palumbo said. “While there are many excellent long-term opportunities abroad, the EA team delivers a variety of programming styles to fit all students with international aspirations.”
IGP is a dual degree program in which students earn a bachelor of science in a STEM or business field and a bachelor of arts in cultural studies or language (Chinese, French, German, Japanese or Spanish). IGP students spend an entire academic year abroad taking classes and committing to a full-time fieldwork experience immersed in the host country’s culture and language. IGP sent its first cohort in 2013, but the program gained significant interest in 2015 when numbers quadrupled.
“A whole year in Japan, an internship in my field at a Japanese company—it was amazing,” said Daniel Carmichael, IGP alumnus who earned a BS in information systems management and a BA in comparative cultural studies, with an emphasis in Japanese. “My experience abroad helped solidify my career goals. I studied at Kansai University and completed an internship in the hotel industry in Japan. I plan to return to Asia and work with the incredible programmers there.”
“Being ranked No. 6 in the nation for long-term study abroad is a testament to NAU’s place as a national leader in international education,” said Daniel Palm, associate vice president for global affairs. “More importantly, it highlights NAU’s commitment to inspiring and equipping the next generation of graduates, through global learning, to undertake meaningful and fulfilling lives as leaders and ambassadors of positive change both here in Arizona and beyond.”