The United States has always been a dream destination for study-abroad aspirants. The American mainland attracts millions of students every year from different parts of the world, promising quality education and better career opportunities. Home to some of the prestigious universities in the world, the North American country has over 4,000 institutions offering higher education degrees in different programs.
According to the 2021 Institute of International Education (IIE) Open Doors report, that over 900,000 students from over 200 countries enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and Optional Practical Training programs in the US. Over 167,000 were from India, accounting for about 18% of the total number of enrolled international students. It comes second after China, which accounts for 35% of the total international students in the USA.
There are several factors for such tremendous growth of international students in the US. Here are some topmost reasons:
Wide range of courses
The US education system is very flexible. It offers dual degree specialisations to students, and its institutions keep updating the curriculum as per the changing trends in the market. The universities and institutes introduce new specialisations courses for the students from time to time to train them in their respective fields. Some of the most popular programs include business management, STEM, medicine, and law. In 2020-21, more than 190,000 international students applied for engineering programs followed by maths and computer science with over 180,000 students. Looking at rising demand, the United States Department of homeland security (DHS) added 22 new subjects to the STEM OPT (Optional Practical Training) program for international students.
American institutions are known for their high academic standards. They strive to maintain their quality standards by evaluating and embracing new-age trends and teaching techniques. It adds more life to the learning by making the whole process interactive and enabling students to develop critical thinking and an innovative mindset. Moreover, the hands-on learning opportunities prepare them to excel in the real world. It is for the same reason that 11 of the top 13 universities listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2022 are from the USA.
The United States is home to the world’s top multinational companies (MNC), and it takes a lot to make it to one of the world’s most competitive job destinations. However, a degree from an American University is a great way to make that journey fruitful. Often these companies hire directly from the campus and prefer international students because of the skills, experience, and diversity they bring to the table.
The country prepares students for their careers in advance by offering them practical exposure and part-time work opportunities. The part-time work options not only give them exposure to international work culture but also helps them manage their lifestyle expenses. According to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA) annual economic analysis, international students studying in the US contributed $28.4 billion and supported 306,308 jobs in the 2020-2021 academic year.
The USA is a melting pot of different cultures. Pursuing education here helps widen the perspective, get familiar with the global work culture and boost confidence level. The knowledge of varied backgrounds also makes students more sensitive towards other cultures and a preferred choice of multinational companies to hire talents. The US universities also help students get acclimatise to various beliefs of people from different nationalities and help navigate the multicultural world in an effortless Manner.
The United States is the most sought-after overseas destination among international students. It has maintained its supremacy in the global university rankings for decades and is likely to hold the position even in the future. The latest Open-Door survey shows a 68% rise in the international enrollment for fall 2021 courses as compared to the previous year. Besides the academic offering, lively campus culture and exposure to working and staying in the world’s biggest economy add to American universities’ rising popularity among international students. So, for all those students who aim to make the big American dream a reality, now is the best time to gear up their preparations to embark upon their academic journey in the land of opportunities.
Piyush Kumar, Regional Director- South Asia & Mauritius, IDP Education