Indiana University accepted its first student from outside the United States in 1857. IU professor Elmer Bryan traveled to the Philippines in 1901 to assist in developing teacher education. Since then, Indiana University has actively demonstrated its commitment to international education. During World War II, in partnership with the U.S. military, the American Council of Learned Societies, and other organizations, IU became a pioneer for instruction in Central Asian, Slavic, and Turkish languages that were rarely taught in the U.S. at that point. This both provided the university with an opportunity to further strategic national interests and attracted international students and faculty to the university and thus was a means of bringing the world to Indiana. The appointment of Leo Dowling as International Student Advisor by President Herman B Wells in 1943 put IU in the vanguard of internationalized institutions.
Over the years, IU’s engagement with international education has evolved to meet the changing international landscape, and to prepare our students to understand and contribute to the increasingly diverse and interconnected world. IU has long been a leader in U.S. Department of Education Title VI programs, which have helped lay the foundation to make Indiana University one of the most internationalized universities in the U.S.. Over seventy languages are taught here, and students from 150 countries study here. We have Gateways in Beijing, Berlin, Delhi, and Mexico City. The 2017 Open Doors report ranked Indiana University Bloomington 7th in the nation for the total number of U.S. students studying abroad. IU is also widely recognized for its national leadership in the administration of high-quality study abroad programs. IU’s School of Global and International Studies was established in 2012, which draws upon Indiana University’s historic strengths in area studies, and foreign languages. President Michael A. McRobbie has called the school "one of the most important developments in the nearly 200 years of IU’s history."