Americas

The Power of International Education

Studying overseas offers benefits for individuals, communities and nations

November 30th, 2017
Bethany Codding, CD News
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International Education Week was created by both the the US Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and takes place in mid-November. This week dedicated to international education is used to encourage and prepare Americans to participate in a global community, while also attracting international counterparts to engage in studying and learning in the United States. The goal is to build international relationships and foster cultural diplomacy between individuals and nations. International education is an important function to conducting cultural diplomacy because of its active participation in the sharing of ideas and values.

During this week, the Institute of International Education released the Open Doors report, a grant project funded by both the US Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, with data on the development and effects of international students, scholars and teachers have while they travel overseas. For the second year in a row, the US has hosted over a million international students who have shared in this exchange, and now more US students are studying abroad as well. According to the Open Door report, the amount of international students studying in the US has increased by 3%. The amount of American students studying abroad has tripled over the past two decades. Europe is the top destination for US students to study abroad and Germany is in the top five for locations, with 11,900 American students at various higher education institutes.

Michelle Logsdon, the Cultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin stated, “we are pleased that a new generation of German and American students continues to seek out the educational opportunities in each other´s country.  This keeps our close transatlantic ties strong and dynamic.”

The increase in US students traveling abroad to pursue higher education is due to a variety of different factors. Some of these include practical training and development of valuable skills for their pursued career goals.

However, choosing to pursue an education internationally is dependent upon several conditions. Tuition, ease of obtaining a visa, and social and political environment can all be determining factors when students decide on a country to study in. The US faces competition with other countries in terms of appealing to international students. The amount of international students enrolled in US institutions since fall of 2016, declined by about 3% from 2015, due to these factors. Alyson L. Grunder, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Policy in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs stated that,
International student exchange is an essential contributor to America’s economic competitiveness and national security. The U.S. 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.

It is necessary for the US to continue their efforts to encourage students to study internationally and to provide an environment that appeals to international students. In doing so, this will build up leaders that have specific talents and skills, which then can be applied to addressing global challenges. International Education Week may be seven days out of the year, but developing and maintaining these goodwill and international relationships formed through these experiences is year-long responsibility.

References:

Cultural Diplomacy News