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More Americans are studying overseas than ever

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Even despite Donald Trump trying to police the United States’ borders through draconian immigration policy, more foreign students than ever are coming to learn at the country’s institutions while record numbers of Americans are also heading abroad.

The US Department of Education and Department of State this week opened International Education Week (IEW), during which it is “encouraging Americans and international students to seek opportunities to study abroad, make connections with peers in other countries, and ultimately see themselves as actors in and shapers of both their local communities and an interconnected world.”

The State Department and the Institute of International Education (IIE) this week released the annual Open Doors report, which also revealed that during 2016/17 a record 1.08 million international students were hosted by US colleges and universities.

Some 325,339 American students received academic credit last year for study abroad in 2015/16, an increase of 3.8 percent. Over the past decade, the number of US citizens studying overseas increased by 46 percent.

This was the eleventh straight year of continued growth in the total number of foreign students in American higher education. The number of international students in the US has increased 85 percent since 2006/7.

Among the largest source countries were China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil, who studied primarily in California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.

“International student exchange is an essential contributor to America’s economic competitiveness and national security, said Alyson L. Grunder, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Policy in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In 2016 alone, international students brought US$39 billion to the United States economy through tuition, living expenses and accommodation, reported IIE.

“The US higher education sector remains the global leader in welcoming students from around the world, and at the same time, we are committed to increasing opportunities to study abroad for Americans,” said Grunder.

Nevertheless, the total number of new international students had declined in the past year by around 10,000, explained by IIE as being in part because of the scaling back of Brazil and Saudi Arabia’s government scholarship programmes.

IEW coincides with American Education Week, proclaimed by President Trump to run between Nov 13 and 17 to celebrate the importance of education.

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