Institute of International Education shares data on first day on International Education Week

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly sent the most students on study abroad experiences among master’s-level institutions, according to the Institute of International Education’s annual statistical survey of U.S. campuses for the 2019-20 academic year released today in celebration of International Education Week.

“Study abroad at Cal Poly remains an integral aspect of our students’ degree programs and reflects the global mindset of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Cari Vanderkar, Cal Poly’s senior international officer and assistant vice provost for international programs. “We are thrilled by the ranking and look forward to our continued strong participation in study abroad and international education generally as the world navigates out of the pandemic.”

Since 2000, Cal Poly has ranked as a top sender in the nation among master’s-level universities for internationally bound students.


In the 2019-20 year, the most current numbers available, Cal Poly sent 863 students abroad to 46 nations (including some multi-country programs). Participation was through Winter 2020, as study abroad was suspended worldwide in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018-19, Cal Poly sent more than 1,200 students abroad. Study abroad resumed in Fall 2021, with around 150 Cal Poly students currently abroad.

In the past two decades, the university also has ranked in the top 10 among those who study abroad for the long-term (an academic year). For mid-length programs, which run for a semester or a quarter, Cal Poly ranked first in the nation for the third straight year with 786 participants. It has ranked in the top eight since 2004-05.

International Education Week (IEW), Nov. 15-19, celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.

Cal Poly is celebrating International Education Week with a host of events to provide opportunities for the campus community to learn more about study abroad, international perspectives and participate in educational and cultural programming. A full list of events is available at

Cal Poly’s vision for internationalization is to provide foundational experiential learning, teaching, service, and scholarship opportunities at home and abroad that will best equip graduates and the campus community at large to solve complex global challenges sustainably, ethically, and inclusively.

The Institute of International Education is the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the U.S. It has conducted the Open Doors Report annual survey since 1919, and since the early 1970s, it has been aided by support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Open Doors surveys about 2,000 U.S. universities and colleges with study abroad programs.

About Open Doors

Open Doors is published by the Institute of International Education, which has conducted an annual statistical survey on international students in the U.S. since its founding in 1919 and in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972. Open Doors also reports on the number of international scholars at U.S. universities and international students enrolled in pre-academic intensive English programs. Additional details on the Open Doors 2018 surveys and findings are on the Open Doors website. 

About the Institute of International Education

IIE works to build more peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies, and promoting access to opportunity. As a not-for-profit with 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government, and foundation partners across the globe to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training, and leadership development programs.

About the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs builds relations between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen U.S. national security, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. ECA sponsors the flagship Fulbright Program, the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for U.S. undergraduates with financial need, the Critical Language Scholarship Program in support of U.S. foreign language study abroad, and the EducationUSA network of more than 400 advising centers worldwide.