Facts Behind Studying Abroad

More U.S. collegians are spending at least a semester overseas, but American students aren’t nearly as global-minded as peers in other nations, six facts from an international exchange report shows.

Chinese students arrive for the first day of the tough college entrance exams or Gaokao, as their parents anxiously wait at the gate, in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province on June 7, 2012. More than 9 million students sat China's notoriously tough college entrance exams with 'high-flyer' rooms, nannies and even intravenous drips among the tools being employed for success, and with just 6.85 million university spots on offer this year, competition for the top institutions is intense, and attempts to cheat are rife -- 1,500 people have been arrested on suspicion of selling transmitters and hard-to-detect ear pieces. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/GettyImages)
National Journal
Emily Deruy, Fusion
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Emily DeRuy, Fusion
Nov. 13, 2013, 6:17 a.m.

More Amer­ic­an col­lege stu­dents than ever be­fore choose to study abroad. Still, Amer­ic­an stu­dents aren’t nearly as glob­al-minded as their peers from oth­er coun­tries.

Here are six fig­ures from the the newly re­leased an­nu­al Open Doors Re­port on In­ter­na­tion­al Edu­ca­tion­al Ex­change that break this down.

1. 283,000 - The re­cord num­ber of stu­dents the United States sent abroad last aca­dem­ic year, an in­crease of about 3 per­cent.

2. 820,000 - The ap­prox­im­ate num­ber of for­eign stu­dents who stud­ied in the United States last year. China alone sends nearly as many stu­dents to the United States as we send abroad at all. And those who come to study here of­ten stay for a full aca­dem­ic year.

3. $24 bil­lion - The amount of money, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Com­merce De­part­ment, that for­eign stu­dents have in­jec­ted in­to the U.S. eco­nomy. They also give to the coun­try in less quan­ti­fi­able ways by provid­ing new and glob­al per­spect­ives at cam­puses across the United States.

4. 15,000 - The ap­prox­im­ate num­ber of stu­dents we send to China, the world’s fast­est-grow­ing eco­nomy, each year. U.S. stu­dents pur­sue the study abroad ex­per­i­ence a little dif­fer­ently than their glob­al peers. The United King­dom is by far the most pop­u­lar des­tin­a­tion, fol­lowed by Italy, Spain and France. Not ex­actly up-and-com­ing eco­nom­ic or polit­ic­al power­houses. And the Middle East, where the United States re­mains deeply em­broiled? We send a mere hand­ful to study there.

5. 90 per­cent - The per­cent­age of Amer­ic­an col­lege stu­dents who do not study abroad at all.

The takeaway?

While these fig­ures might ap­pear dis­mal, we seem to be headed in the right dir­ec­tion. The num­ber of Amer­ic­an stu­dents go­ing abroad has more than tripled in the past two dec­ades and the up­tick is likely to con­tin­ue.

That’s a good thing.

Ac­cord­ing to those be­hind the re­port — the In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tion­al Edu­ca­tion and the State De­part­ment’s Bur­eau of Edu­ca­tion­al and Cul­tur­al Af­fairs — the study abroad ex­per­i­ence is more valu­able than ever.

“The ca­reers of all of our stu­dents will be glob­al ones, in which they will need to func­tion ef­fect­ively in multi-na­tion­al teams,” IIE Pres­id­ent Al­lan Good­man said in a state­ment. “They will need to un­der­stand the cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences and his­tor­ic­al ex­per­i­ences that di­vide us, as well as the com­mon val­ues and hu­man­ity that unite us.”

This art­icle is pub­lished with per­mis­sion from Fu­sion, a TV and di­git­al net­work that cham­pi­ons a smart, di­verse and in­clus­ive Amer­ica. Fu­sion is a part­ner of Na­tion­al Journ­al and The Next Amer­ica. Fol­low the au­thor on Twit­ter: @Emily_­DeR­uy
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