Schools Training

International Students in North America

23 JUL 2014
Career Path : Study Abroad

The mobility of international students has greatly expanded in the last decades, going from 0.8 million to 4.1 million worldwide between 1975 and 2010. The increase in international students choosing to travel to North America to pursue their education reflects economic and social globalization. To help you understand how this affects your education (and how this can open up new opportunities for you!), we’ve produced a fun new video showcasing the different trends involving international students in North America. Have fun watching it! If you’re interested in watching more videos and getting more education news, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel! To complement our new video, here’s some more information about international students in North America.

Interesting statistics

At the global level, North America receives about 21% of all international students. The US is the most popular education destination, although college news has shown that its overall market share has fallen in recent years, from 23% in 2000 to 17% in 2011. Still, all of the top 20 universities in the top 10 host states in the US had more international students this year than the year before, with California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois being particularly attractive destinations. What motivates this growth is a combination of:

  • More active recruitment efforts by the universities
  • The growing reputation of North American universities and campuses abroad
  • The growth of the middle class in developing countries
  • Stronger partnerships with institutions in other countries

Experts predict that 900,000 foreign students will enroll in a US higher education program this year, which represents an increase of about 40% over the past decade. In Canada, the number of international students has grown by about 36 percent since 2007. Today, Canada is the home of about 239,000 international students.

What does it mean for you?

Overall, international students are expected to inject roughly $24 billion in the US economy this year. NAFSA has demonstrated that this new capital will directly or indirectly support 313,000 jobs. Moreover, more international students means more cultural diversity. By exposing you to different cultures, your school or college can help you develop a cosmopolitan worldview, which is likely to come in handy both in your personal life, such as when travelling, as well as in your professional life, since many businesses now compete in the global marketplace.

The top three source countries of international students are China, India and South Korea. Together, these countries account for almost half (49%) of international students in the US. Chinese enrolments in particular have jumped by a very impressive 21.4% in the last decade, with 235,597 Chinese students now studying in the US.

The other top source countries are:

  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Colombia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Kuwait
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Spain
  • UK
  • Vietnam

If you’re interested in learning more about other cultures, campuses in North America are now highly culturally diverse. Similarly, if you’re interested in studying abroad for a semester, your North American school or college likely has great partnerships with foreign universities and institutions that can make the process simpler on your end, by providing you with school news, cost estimates, a clear path to a student visa and more. In any case, you’re sure to benefit from the presence of more international students on our campuses!