UGA's internationalization map shows the United Kingdom as the top destination for study-abroad trips. See more

University of Georgia football fans have grown accustomed in recent years to seeing the school at the higher end of the top 10 rankings. But catapulting into that list for study-abroad participation took a major surge. 

According to the newly released Open Doors report from the Institute for International Education, the state’s flagship school jumped eight slots to No. 6 in the nation, with 2,780 undergraduate and graduate students taking international classes for credit in the 2018-19 year tracked in the report. 

Appropriately, the news release announcing the milestone points out that UGA outpaced all other Southeastern Conference schools and was the only Georgia institution that cracked the top-10. 

The top five destination by trips, according to UGA data, were the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Spain and Costa Rica, where UGA recently sold off a campus in the Monteverde cloud forest, promising the move would free up resources while expanding opportunities for students. 

It’s unclear how stats for the 2019-20 year will shake out. Early on in the pandemic, most schools canceled their faculty-led study trips due to travel restrictions and internal safety protocols. 

Both American study-abroad participation and international-student enrollments at U.S. schools are expected to be down significantly this year. 

The UGA Office of Global Engagement said in the news release that it is working to restart programs in the 2021 Maymester and summer terms with input from its risk management advisory committee and faculty members. 

Noel Fallows, associate provost for the Office of Global Engagement, said the ranking is the highest yet for UGA. 

“Our numbers reflect a student appetite for academically rigorous international experiences that is underpinned by impactful scholarship opportunities, dedicated faculty engagement and a strong institutional commitment to global education,” she said in a news release. 

UGA operates a variety of strategic collaborations around the world that provide opportunities for students and faculty, from centers in Cortona, Italy, and Oxford, England, to research exchanges like the award-winning UGA-Minas Gerais partnership in Brazil. 

The Open Doors report is released annually during International Education Week, which this year fell between Nov. 16-20. 

Georgia saw modest 2.7 growth in its foreign-student population to 24,265, while the U.S. as a whole experienced a slight 1.8 percent decline. 

Learn more and read country-focused internationalization reports at

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...