The Inherent Value of International Exchange

Filed in American Culture by on November 26, 2019 0 Comments

During International Education Week (IEW), the United States celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. The joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of an effort to attract talented individuals from abroad to study, work, and hone their skills in the United States.

There was a lot to celebrate during this year’s IEW. According to the Institute of International Education, over one million international students chose to study in the United States during the 2018 – 2019 academic year. This was the fourth year in a row that the United States was home to more than one million international students.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce emphasized the benefits of exchange, saying:

“International exchange makes our colleges and universities more dynamic for all students and an education at a U.S. institution can have a transformative effect for international students, just like study abroad experiences can for U.S. students.”

China currently has the largest number of students studying or training in the United States. For the 2018 – 2019 academic year, there were 369,548 Chinese students participating in a U.S.-based undergraduate program or graduate program, as well as practical training programs.

Emerging market countries also showed a spike in the number of people traveling to the United States for school or training. Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, and Bangladesh all experienced a growth of 5% to 10%, respectively.

Just over half of all international students and trainees pursued a STEM field while in the United States. Enrollment in math and computer programs increased by nearly 10%, while engineering continued to be the most popular program. Over 21% of students and trainees participated in an engineering program.

Americans also participated in international programs during the year. 341,751 U.S. students studied abroad for academic credit, roughly a 3% increase from the previous year.

Continuing to build out these education and training programs is a win-win for the United States and the participating countries. They foster important global relationships and often create life-long bonds between the student or trainee and the country they visited.