We live in an era of viral globalization. And there’s so much talk about the necessity of a global perspective for success in just about every industry – healthcare, technology, manufacturing and entertainment, to name a few – that it is surprising the overall numbers of U.S. college students who study abroad is still relatively small. There are some pockets of strong growth, however, among students focusing on STEM degrees, many Asian destinations, and non-credit education programs.
According to the most recent Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report, nearly 290,000 American students received credit for studying abroad in 2013, a record high, and an increase of 2.1% over the previous year. The number of U.S. students studying abroad has more than doubled in the last 15 years. Despite these increases, fewer than 10% of all U.S. college students study abroad during their undergrad years.
Study Abroad Destinations
Not surprisingly, Europe is the destination for over half (53%) of the U.S. study abroad population. The three leading destinations – U.K. (13%), Italy (10%), and Spain (9%) – account for almost a third of students. They are followed by France and China, at 6% and 5% respectively.
While the UK had the largest increase in the number of U.S. study abroad students, there was also double digit growth in the number of Americans studying in South Africa, Denmark, South Korea, Peru and Thailand. There was strong growth in Costa Rica and Ireland, as well as a continued rebound in Japan. Asia and Latin America are fast becoming the new hotspots for U.S. higher education overseas, however. . . .