Exchanges move up agenda after terrorism

September 13, 2002

A year after the September 11 terrorist attacks, US students consider international educational exchanges significantly more important than they were before that date, says an Institute of International Education survey.

The survey found that study abroad is more popular than ever. It also found that applications from international students who want to come to the US had held steady or risen, although interest from Islamic countries had fallen.

Allan Goodman, the institute's president, said: "Interest in study abroad by US students and study in the US by international students has remained strong since September 11 and is likely to do so in the coming year."

A record 500,000 international students travelled to the US in the year leading up to September 11. That made higher education one of the top US exports, adding $11 billion (£7 billion) to the economy. The number of students who have come to the US in the year since will be reported in November.

Study abroad by Americans has risen more than 60 per cent in the past five years, though the number of US students overseas still represents a very small percentage of total enrolment.

Almost all of the 500 international education professionals surveyed said international exchanges were considered more important than, or as important as, they were before 9/11. Nearly half saw more Americans seeking to study abroad this year. "This is welcome news, because this is a time when our world needs more international exchange, not less," Dr Goodman said.

Still, almost a quarter of US institutions reported a large fall in student numbers from Saudi Arabia, 20 per cent said fewer were coming from Pakistan, and there was a decline in the number of students from the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and other Islamic countries.

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