Study Abroad Statistics 2008

If you are interested in the latest industry trends, take a look at my summary of the Study Abroad Statistics 2008 by Open Door. 

Where do American students go for their study abroad program?

Here is a top 10 list of popular destinations for US students:

RankDestination2005/062006/07% of TotalChange
 WORLD TOTAL223,534241,791100.08.5
10Costa Rica5,5185,3832.4-2.4

(Source: Open Doors Report 2008)  It is interesting to see, that 3 of the Top 10 destinations are English speaking countries. But American students should realize what a great advantage a study abroad program is to learn a foreign language fast and easy. Also the 25% increase in students going to China is a very fascinating figure. Students are getting more open and try out more daunting countries to learn about very different coultures and live in exotic countries.

Americans studying abroad 
While the percentage points for students peaked in the mid 90s, the total number of US students studying abroad went from 99,448 in 1996/97 to 241,791 in a ten year time period. Another interesting fact shows, that almost 2/3 of the students studying abroad are female. This number has been pretty stable for the past 10 years. Another striking fact is that while the percentage of caucasian students studying abroad slightly fell, the percentages for minority students studying in a foreign country increased slightly. Most American students spend their Junior Year abroad, but the numbers of other years have been increasing in the past years, as colleges become more flexible to incorporate studies abroad into their program.

How long do they stay?

More than 55% of students go abroad on a short term program. This can be anything, from a study tour to a quarter or even up to a semester abroad, approximately 40% study abroad for about one year and only 4.4% study abroad long term. However, from my personal experience, you will take the most from a longer stay abroad, but better short than never, right? If your expenses are holding you back from studying abroad, check out this scholarship information.

What are they studying?

While Humanities have always been a traditional major of students abroad, business and management majors are catching up fast. About 20% of Humanities students are studying abroad during their time in college and this number has been steady for the past 10 years, while the percentage of business majors studying abroad went from 14.5 % in 1996/97 to 19.1 % in 2006/07. The importance of a global network in todays business world are showing their results in these figures.

So, to sum it all up, the typical student going abroad is most likely female, studies either Humanities or Business, stays for a short period abroad and goes to the UK. Wow, creating a stereotype of a US student studying abroad was easy!!!

For more information, IIENetwork provides an annual report on studying abroad statistics. Their report gives detailed stats on US students studying abroad and shows the trends from 1996/1997 to 2006/2007.

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