Rising numbers of U.S. college students are studying overseas, and many aren’t going to the traditional universities in Europe, a survey found. They’re venturing farther afield, to Africa, Australia, the Middle East.
The number of American students studying abroad rose 10.6 percent to 84,403 in 1994-95, continuing a 10-year upward trend, a report released Sunday by the Institute of International Education said.
Foreign student enrollment in U.S. schools, meanwhile, rose less than 1 percent the past two years.
“As recently as a decade ago, studying abroad was considered a luxury,” said Richard M. Krasno, the institute’s president. “I think it’s now considered a more instrumental part of undergraduate education.”
He speculated that American students are warming to the idea of studying abroad because they are being exposed to other cultures on their own campuses.
Many also recognize the importance of a second language and international experience in competing for good jobs, he said.
“When I went to school, they said ‘Here, study French. If you even go to France, you’ll be able to order off a menu.’ Now, it’s seen as a career asset,” said Wayne Decker, director of the office of international studies at the University of Arizona.
Amy Hofsheier, 21, a student at the University of Arizona, is off to Israel next month to study 5-1/2 months at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva. She’s majoring in archaeology and Judaic studies and hopes to see the country and improve her language skills.
Kenitra Burton, 20, a junior at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., spent a month in Thailand as a freshman to broaden her knowledge of the country’s language, culture and religion.