U of A Among Top 40 for Study Abroad, Sees Participation Increase to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Jenova Kempkes (left) participated in a study abroad internship this summer in Kenya, which she said was invaluable experience to prepare for her career in international medicine.
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Jenova Kempkes (left) participated in a study abroad internship this summer in Kenya, which she said was invaluable experience to prepare for her career in international medicine.

The University of Arkansas was recently named one of the top 40 institutions in the United States for sending students abroad for educational opportunities in the 2020-21 academic year by Open Doors, a Department of State-funded information resource on international students and scholars in the United States and on U.S. students studying abroad.

The U of A ranked 36th in the Open Doors report for the 106 students the university sent abroad in 2020-21. That number grew in the 2021-22 school year, when a total of 904 students studied abroad across 36 countries as traveling restrictions eased following the COVID-19 pandemic. Most students studying abroad were Arkansans, with 859 participating in traditional study abroad opportunities and 46 participating in a virtual global learning program.

"Our quick rebound tells me not only that our Razorbacks are ready to explore the world through global-learning experiences like study abroad and internships, but also the ethos of inspiring study abroad is strong across each of the colleges at both the faculty and staff levels," said Sarah Malloy, director of study abroad and international exchange.

Top destinations during study abroad excursions this year included Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Chile and Ireland, and the Walton College of Business sent the most students on study abroad or global learning experiences in 2021-22. In total, approximately 12% of graduating seniors this year studied abroad during their time at the U of A — a decrease from previous years due to the lack of international mobility during the pandemic.

The improvement in study abroad participation means more students are experiencing transformational opportunities abroad, according to Malloy.

"Borrowing from NAFSA's advocacy framework, 30 years ago we were, as a nation, collectively focused on wide access to computers and the internet to equip the students for the workplace of tomorrow," Malloy said. "Today, access to a global education and global learning experiences are paramount to address local and global issues and equip the next generation."

Jenova Kempkes, a biomedical engineering student, studied abroad via an internship at a hospital in Kenya this summer to gain hands-on experience in international medicine — a field she wants to pursue for her career.

"My study abroad opportunity was invaluable towards my future career field because it provided a glimpse of medical systems abroad," she said. "It helped secure my interest in pursuing international medicine and enabled me to form lasting connections within the community. I also had the opportunity to experience unique clinical settings that are not experienced in developed countries, which taught me to be resourceful and creative."

During her internship, Kempkes worked in the emergency department where she assisted the hospital's nurses and physicians. Her experience culminated in a research project to determine patient satisfaction with the department.

Opportunities are still available to study abroad in Summer 2023, and scholarship options are also available. For more information, visit the Study Abroad website or contact the office at 479-575-7582 or studyabr@uark.edu.


John Post, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education
479-575-4853, johnpost@uark.edu


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