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- Among students interested in spending time studying outside the U.S., 57% said they chose their colleges based on study abroad opportunities, according to a new survey by Terra Dotta, a provider of international travel software and higher education services.
- The main reasons why students want to study abroad were personal growth or love of travel, cited by 43% and 36% of respondents. Only 7% said they were primarily motivated by preparing for a global workforce, the survey found.
- But 84% said the cost of study abroad programs would keep them from participating. And 51% of survey respondents said the top thing their college could do to make studying abroad more accessible is to teach them about financial aid options.
Travel outside the US, including travel related to higher education, has taken a hit in recent years as the COVID-19 pandemic has closed country borders. But the U.S. cannot afford to be absent from the world stage, according to a July 2021 statement from the Department of State and Education renew your commitment to international education.
Now, Terra Dotta’s survey suggests that students are ready to study abroad again. In January, the company commissioned a market research firm to conduct an online survey of 223 American college students and found that 88% had never studied abroad. For 84% of respondents, their study stay abroad was canceled due to the pandemic. Among first-year students, 80% said they wanted to study abroad during their college career.
Early exposure to international education played a role in engagement. Nearly half of the students who want to study abroad, 45%, became interested before graduating from high school, according to the survey. On the other hand, of those who did not plan to study abroad, nearly 30% said they were unfamiliar with the idea.
“While international educators have attempted to shed the tourism department label and touted the importance of cross-cultural exchange to career readiness, there is an opportunity to do more to engage students and parents – especially as many students desire travel for social and mobility effects of the pandemic,” Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta, said in a statement.