Most for­eign ex­change stu­dents in U.S. come from China

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY ALEX HOP­KINS THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

Re­gard­less of the po­lit­i­cal ups and downs be­tween the U.S. and China, a thriv­ing two-way flow of traf­fic con­tin­ues to link the two coun­tries cam­pus to cam­pus, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey re­leased Mon­day.

The In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion re­port found that the in­flux of Chi­nese stu­dents study­ing at Amer­i­can in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing is the largest con­tin­gent of for­eign stu­dents in the U.S. and has just hit an­other record.

Dur­ing the 2012-2013 school year, 819,644 for­eign stu­dents came to the United States to study, up 7 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year and an in­crease of 40 per­cent since 2003. About 235,000 of these stu­dents — 28 per­cent — hailed from China, a 21 per­cent in­crease among the Chi­nese.

Al­though the num­ber of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents dropped in the af­ter­math of the 9/11 ter­ror­ist at­tacks, the fig­ures have dra­mat­i­cally bounced back.

“Chi­nese stu­dents and their par­ents are look­ing for high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion, get the im­por­tance of in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion, and it’s mak­ing Amer­ica the No. 1 des­ti­na­tion be­cause we ac­tu­ally have the ca­pac­ity to ab­sorb in­ter­na­tional stu­dents,” said Allan E. Good­man, pres­i­dent and CEO of the In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, the two main fac­tors that have contributed to Amer­ica’s pop­u­lar­ity for higher ed­u­ca­tion are a bur­geon­ing Chi­nese mid­dle class and a wide­spread be­lief among Chi­nese par­ents that U.S. col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties are among the world’s finest.

The re­port also noted that U.S. higher ed­u­ca­tion is also con­ve­nient for Chi­nese par­ents, as schools of­fer “an unmatched range of nearly 4,000 col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties of all sizes and types, with an ex­ten­sive va­ri­ety of course of­fer­ings, fields of study, and price points.”

Chi­nese stu­dents out­pace their Amer­i­can study-abroad coun­ter­parts, as 283,332 U.S. stu­dents stud­ied abroad for aca­demic credit in 2012-2013, a 3 per­cent in­crease from the pre­vi­ous year. Al­though this up­ward trend has con­tin­ued for the past seven years, the lat­est fig­ures rep­re­sent just 1.4 per­cent of the 21 mil­lion en­rolled U.S. un­der­grad­u­ates.

The most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for U.S. stu­dents were Bri­tain, Italy, Spain and France, with China fifth.

U.S. stu­dents study­ing abroad tended to take shorter trips than in­ter­na­tional stu­dents study­ing in the U.S., the re­port found.

“We need to in­crease sub­stan­tially the num­ber of U.S. stu­dents who go abroad so that they, too can gain the in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence which is so vi­tal to ca­reer suc­cess and deep­en­ing mu­tual un­der­stand­ing,” Mr. Good­man said.

The ben­e­fits just aren’t aca­demic and cul­tural: Ac­cord­ing to the In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and the State Depart­ment’s Bureau of Ed­u­ca­tional and Cul­tural Af­fairs, for­eign stu­dents and their fam­i­lies con­trib­ute $24 bil­lion to the U.S. econ­omy.

New York City is still the largest met­ro­pol­i­tan in­ter­na­tional stu­dent hub, while Cal­i­for­nia is the state leader with more than 100,000 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents.

Na­tion­wide, the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia has hosted the most China leads the in­ter­na­tional con­tin­gent of stu­dents head­ing to Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties, while the num­ber of Amer­i­can stu­dents study­ing abroad is small but steadily ris­ing. in­ter­na­tional stu­dents for the past 11 years. Round­ing out the top five are the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Ur­bana-Cham­paign, Pur­due Univer­sity, New York Univer­sity and Columbia Univer­sity.

The In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion be­lieves that the U.S. will con­tinue to be one of the most pop­u­lar study abroad des­ti­na­tions among in­ter­na­tional stu­dents.

“In­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion pro­motes the re­la­tion­ship build­ing and knowl­edge ex­change be­tween peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties in the United States and around the world that are nec­es­sary to solve global chal­lenges,” said Evan M. Ryan, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural af­fairs. “The con­nec­tions made dur­ing in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ences last a life­time. 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.”

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