Leaders in the field of U.S.- China relations emphasized the continued importance of investing in public diplomacy efforts, particularly student exchange programs, at the launch of the 100,000 Strong Report on Tuesday. Josette Sheeran, President and CEO of the Asia Society, underlined the strategic value of exchanges:
“These initiatives are not just about feeling good and getting to know each other, but can do big things.”
There is a growing focus on international student retention rates in the U.S., due to the increasing number of international students studying at American universities, according to World Education Services (WES). Additionally, several countries with large numbers of incoming international students, including Canada, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S., are engaging in efforts to better support their international student communities:
The Government of Russia has decided to cancel Russian participation in the 2015-16 Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) high school program, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Russian high school students currently in the U.S. on the 2014-15 FLEX program can continue their stay and finish their program.
Increasing numbers of international graduate students are enrolling in U.S. graduate programs, while the number of U.S. citizens enrolling is on the decline, according to a report recently released by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS).
A CGS press release on the new graduate enrollment and degrees data notes that:
In a recent Huffington Post blog post, 100,000 Strong Foundation president Carola McGiffert calls for the diversification of study abroad to China. The general homogeneity of study abroad poses a disadvantage for not only underrepresented students themselves, but also U.S. businesses and the U.S. government, McGiffert writes.
Graduates with international experience gain both short and long-term employment benefits, as well as job mobility, according to a new impact study conducted on the Erasmus program. Both studying and interning abroad were found to improve students’ rankings on key skills deemed important by employers, and these experiences were also linked to lower unemployment rates.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa thus far has had only a modest effect on research and international education programs, Inside Higher Ed recently reported. The article notes that those countries affected by the virus “are not popular destinations for research or study abroad programs” and that “few students from the region enroll at American colleges and universities.”
In light of the ongoing crisis in Gaza and Israel, and the State Department’s updated travel warning advising U.S. citizens to “’consider’ deferring non-essential travel” to Israel, U.S. colleges are debating whether or not to evacuate their students in the region, Inside Higher Ed reports.
As studying abroad increases in popularity and importance, U.S. colleges are trying to find ways to provide access to an international experience for those students who may face social, financial, or cultural barriers, U.S. News and World Report writes.
Safety concerns, such as the threat of crime and drug violence, are deterring American students from studying in Mexico, prompting them to choose Costa Rica, Argentina, and Brazil as their study destinations in Latin America instead, the Washington Post reports.