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International experiences at colleges on the rise


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One of the most exciting aspects of the college experience is the chance to meet classmates who hail from other countries. Nowadays, there is a very good chance that you will encounter international students on your college campus, according to new data from the Institute of International Education (IIE). 

International enrollment on the rise
The IIE recently released its 2013 "Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange," which revealed that the 2012 – 2013 academic year saw the number of foreign students studying at American colleges and universities rise by 7 percent. This change brought the number of international students in the U.S. to a record high of 819,644.

In an increasingly global world, there are those who welcome the diversification of college classrooms. Evan M, Ryan, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, is among them.

"The connections made during international education experiences last a lifetime," said Ryan in an IIE press release. "International students enrich classrooms, campuses and communities in ways that endure long after students return to their home countries. We encourage U.S. schools to continue to welcome more international students to their campuses and to do more to make study abroad a reality for all of their students."

According to the report, there are 40 percent more international students studying at colleges and universities in the U.S. now than a decade ago. Much of this growth was linked to a higher number of students from China and Saudi Arabia attending colleges in the U.S.

More Americans heading overseas
While the U.S. and its colleges remain attractive to foreign students, international destinations are just as popular among young Americans. During the 2011 – 2012 academic year, the number of U.S. students studying abroad was up 3 percent, bringing the total to 283,332 — a new high.

The U.K. remains the top study-abroad destination for American students, with other European countries, such as Italy, Spain and France, also proving popular. According to the report, interest in China and Latin America as study destinations was also on the rise.

In the press release, Allan E. Goodman, president and chief executive officer of the IIE, said that today's students will have global careers. For this reason, studying abroad and learning alongside international peers will become increasingly valuable experiences in the years ahead, and something students should keep in mind during their college search.

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