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Record number of Chinese students flock to US colleges

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Every year, the Open Doors report provides a snapshot of foreign study – both students coming to the US and US students heading abroad. Among the interesting nuggets this year:

  • For the first time in the 25 years that data has been tracked, the number of American students studying abroad fell slightly, down 0.8 percent to 260,327 – a decline attributable mostly to the recession, and one that Ms. Blumenthal says has already started to turn around, based on preliminary numbers.
  • The top destinations for US students remain the same – Great Britain, Italy, and Spain – but those countries are declining in popularity as more students head to less traditional destinations. Peru, South Korea, and Chile saw the biggest increases. Others hosting more American students include China, Argentina, South Africa, Denmark, and the Czech Republic. US students are also studying a more diverse range of fields abroad, notes Blumenthal – so public health students may head to South Africa, or environmental studies students to Costa Rica – encouraging a broader array of destinations.
  • Together, the top five countries sending students to the US – China, India, South Korea, Canada, and Taiwan – account for more than half of all foreign students studying here.
  • For the most part, foreign students in the US study business and management or engineering; those two fields account for almost 40 percent of all the foreign students.
  • The institutions hosting the largest number of foreign students (all with more than 7,000) are the University of Southern California, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and New York University.
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