In terms of educational experiences, little compares with the chance to study abroad. Not only do students find themselves immersed in another culture, learning a little more about their temporary homes with each passing day, but the impact this decision has on their own lives - and the lives of everyone around them - will last a lifetime. According to the Department of Homeland Securityi, if you've never had the pleasure of working with someone from another country, you might be missing out on an intercultural dynamic that can help enrich your world view and provide you with ample opportunities to learn about another way of life.
More international students enrolling in U.S. schools
Chances are, however, you've met at least one student who hailed from another land. The Institute of International Educationii reported that America has seen a steady influx in the number of people who are temporarily immigrating to enrich their educational experiences at U.S. higher education institutions. In the past 10 years, growth in international enrollment has increased by approximately 40 percent, with a concentrated surge over the past few years. A whopping 4 percent of the total student enrollment for U.S. higher education is made up of foreign students. And that number is rising.
While that might not seem like much, consider what this means in terms of classroom size. For every 100 students, by these statistics, at least 4 of them are likely to be international. As you move from one class to another, there could be any number of foreign students taking the same courses, interacting with the same professors and working through the same homework. Positive cultural implications aside, you might be asking yourself why they'd spend so much money to come to the U.S. The answer to that question is complex, but according to The Institute of International Education, it's likely related to their drive to succeed in the global marketplace.
"International education promotes the relationship building and knowledge exchange between people and communities in the United States and around the world that are necessary to solve global challenges," Evan M. Ryan, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, told the source. "The connections made during international education experiences last a lifetime. International students enrich classrooms, campuses and communities in ways that endure long after students return to their home countries."
How international students can benefit from American classrooms
In most cases, a linguistic barrier is one of the most common elements that separates the world in foreign affairs, and the same can be said in education. When international students take classes in the U.S., learning English from native speakers is oftentimes a major perk. So much of an emphasis has been placed on English as a Second Language (ESL) that ESL Reviewiii established a rating system for schools that participate in similar programs.
As students often have different needs, related to price range and expectations, this helps them make informed decisions regarding their top choices. Additionally, although most of these institutions have their own methodology for ESL instruction, one thing unites them - organic conversation. Although historically a draw for graduate students who are specifically looking for an ESL course, where native speakers partner with second-language learners to help them practice their conversational English, more international undergraduates are now entering U.S. programs for a combined experience.
How else does it help?
Another draw for international students is the open inclusion they experience in most U.S. institutions. For instance, although it might seem like the whole world celebrates Christmas, some parts of the globe do not comport to these traditions. However, international students, like everyone else who is enrolled in an American institution, typically have to find their way home when campuses close for the holiday.
Rather than making the long journey home, USA Todayiv reported that it isn't uncommon for these individuals to take advantage of classes that might be offered during the holiday months. For others, who might find spending additional money on extra classes too expensive, some more inclusive campuses host activities for international students to further enrich their experiences.
"There are a significant amount of students who stay in the United States during winter break ... some simply want to travel and see the United States," Mike A. Brzezinski, dean of international programs at Purdue University, told the source.
For instance, Purdue recognizes that foreign students might be interested to see some of America's many entertaining attractions, and offers a trip to Disney World for individuals in this situation.