30 December, 2013: A number of recent studies have shown that the number of American students studying abroad has been increasing, with the reverse also being true.
A study from the Institute of International Education revealed that the number of students enrolled in American universities has increased by approximately 7% in relation to last year, with total figures now nearing 800,000.
However, statistics from this study also revealed that the ratio of American students to foreign students in American universities is widening, as more and more university-age men and women continue to ‘travel’ in both directions. In fact, according to the research in question, the number of American students opting for studying abroad has undergone an increase of approximately 3% in the past two years.
One small university focused on by the study turned out to have a total of over 140 international students from 43 countries, raising the question of what the exact percentages may be for higher profile institutions.
In terms of motivation for studying abroad, most students cite the opportunity to learn a new language and be immersed in a new culture as key factors behind their choice. Teachers and students alike also find that stepping out of their comfort zone not only makes learning more interesting, but also broadens their horizons and opens their minds. These are characteristics that, as a different set of studies shows, will later impact their professional and personal lives.
Interestingly this trend is not exclusive to America. Most of the major cities and learning institutions the world over are experiencing an increase in the number of applications from foreign students wishing to study abroad. In Europe, the Schengen zone and simple, straightforward border-crossing laws make it significantly easier for foreign students to study abroad than somewhere like America, where procedures to enter or leave the country are much more strict and highly complex. This indicates an encouraging move towards internationality in the contemporary academic world, evidenced in studies such as the one analysed above.
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