International Students Coming to the US in Record Numbers

By Chris Hassan
Posted November 16, 2012 11:00 AM

Record number of international students studying the U.S.
Record number of international students studying the U.S.
When students from different cultures come together in an academic setting, it fuels an intellectual exchange that sparks innovation, said Allan E. Goodman, president and chief executive officer of the Institute of International Education (IIE), in a press release. Goodman's statement coincided with the release of the IIE's 2012 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

Those who believe the U.S. can benefit from the mingling of different cultures and ideas will be happy to learn that the number of international students who spent time learning at American colleges and universities reached an all-time high of 764,495 students during the 2011-2012 academic year. At the same time, the number of U.S. students studying abroad was up 1%. For both groups, the sky is the limit for their potential.

"Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders," said Ann Stock, the assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. "International education creates strong, lasting relationships between the U.S. and emerging leaders worldwide. Students return home with new perspectives and a global skill set that will allow them to build more prosperous, stable societies."

Beyond record numbers, the IIE's report provided insight into today's bachelor's degree seekers with an interest in international learning.

American Colleges and Universities Appeal to International Students

As the U.S. is home to many of the world's most renowned academic institutions, it should come as no surprise that individuals in foreign countries have a strong interest in coming to the U.S. to learn. In fact, many schools' student populations are quite diverse. At The New School in New York, for instance, 25% of all students are international, according to the institution's website. Meanwhile, at California's Soka University of America, 40% of students hail from other countries, states the school's website.

According to the Open Doors Report, greater numbers of students are coming to the U.S. from China, as undergraduate enrollment increased by 31% during the 2011-2012 academic year. More undergraduates also hail from Saudi Arabia now, thanks in part to scholarships from the country's government.

Many American Students Choose to Study in Europe

Open Doors' data shows that Europe remains an attractive destination for American students looking to gain international experience. During the 2010-2011 academic year, the U.K. was individuals' number one study abroad locale, with Italy, Spain, France and China rounding out the top five.

Despite the great level of interest students have in studying at European institutions, data also reveals that more individuals are also flocking to "non-traditional" destinations, such as Brazil, Costa Rica, India and South Korea.

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