Student Exchange Booming Worldwide

USC tops the list of largest international student body

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A record number of foreign students studied at American universities last school year, while more U.S. students are studying abroad than ever before.

The 2012-2013 school year saw an increase of 7.2 percent over the year before in the number of international students enrolled in American universities, the seventh straight year that number ticked up according to the annual “Open Doors” report from the International Institute of Education. Most of that growth comes via China and Saudi Arabia, though the countries that saw the highest percentage increase were Kuwait (37.4%), Saudi Arabia (30.5%), and Iran (25.2%).

The University of Southern California had more international students in 2012-13 than any other American school, followed by University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, Purdue, New York University and Columbia University.  Today, there are 40 percent more foreign students studying in the U.S. than a decade ago.

Whereas most foreign students come to the U.S. to study Business & Management and Engineering, the top two fields of study for American students abroad are Social Sciences and Business.

The top destination for American students in 2011-12 (the most recent data available) was the U.K., followed by Italy, Spain, France and China. On the whole, study abroad among American students has more than tripled in the past 20 years, though the total still accounts for less than 10 percent of all U.S. college students.