Growing trend towards studying abroad

When Frances Downey was a child, mother often her little daughter about her fascinating experience of studying abroad, in France. No wonder that since her early school years Downey has dreamt of taking part in an international study program, just like her mum.

In 2004 Downey entered Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. After 2 years of studying architecture, she began to feel like to be bored and unsatisfied. Thus, Downey made a decision to continue her studying outside of the United States. She had some difficulties with receiving approval of her studying abroad, but successfully managed them and in 2006/2007 academic year spent an autumn term at the Danish International School in Copenhagen, Denmark. The girl had chosen it because she admired housing architecture created by artists from Denmark.

What is more, during the spring semester of the same academic year Downey attended the University of Sevilla in Spain. Moving to and living in other countries was not easy for a young lady. Particularly, she faced some problems with transportation. Though, her family and friends helped her both morally and materially. Downey said she would never forget such a wonderful experience and adventure. She was so excited about travelling and discovering new places that took one more long-term study trip to Vicenza, Italy.

The increase: scope and reasons

According to data and statistics, the quantity of students who study abroad constantly increases. The article issued in November by the Institute of International Education says that during the last 30 years the number of American students getting their degree abroad rose 330 thousand. And it is continuing to increase.

The growth in figures:

  • it started in the early 1990s
  • the number of students studying abroad increases by approximately 2% every year
  • in 2008 the pace of growth declined because of the U.S. crisis
  • less than 30% of students studying abroad are the representatives of minorities.

Peggy Blumenthal who works at the IIE claimed that the majority of Americans are used to getting higher education near their homes and being in their comfort zone. Thus, students don’t have any serious challenges or difficulties to deal with on their own. At the same time, studying abroad helps them to gain vital experience, so now more and more people are beginning to realize how useful and cognitive participation in an international exchange program may be. Globalization prompts companies to seek employees with a good knowledge of foreign languages and cultures able to work in the multinational environment.

Measures to encourage international study programs

The opportunities and conditions of studying abroad have also been improved. US higher education institutions have developed their cooperation with foreign colleges and universities by increasing the number of joint programs, including those lasting only for a few weeks. Because of that fact, studying abroad has become more available and students face fewer financial problems. In addition, the American government has set up Benjamin A. Gilman and Fulbright programs to increase funding for the international exchange programs. Finally, nowadays more and higher education institutions abroad are offering programs in English.