Why aren’t more Americans studying abroad?

Number wise, the amount of American students studying abroad has been increasing.

In 1990, the number was 60,000.
The amount in 2000 was 143,950.
And just last year, in 2011, there were 270,604 American students studying abroad.

Statistically, it looks like we are increasing the number of students abroad (which we are). Percentage wise though, the numbers from 2011 only equal 1% of American students in college.

Why such a low percentage when the numbers have increased? More students in today’s society are first generation college students, as high school graduates in the 1990s were able to find better jobs right out of secondary schooling.

Another possibility for the low percentage is that many students don’t see it as a necessary experience for while in school. They might believe football game and study parties with friends sound like better options. There is nothing wrong with football games (as I truly enjoyed mine as an undergraduate), however, time as an undergraduate is really the ideal time to go abroad. By waiting until one has a job to fully afford it without taking extra loans, you are also throwing in the risk that your job might not give you enough time off to go abroad. Or you might have kids as soon as you graduate from college, pushing back other priorities in order to best take care of your children.

Whatever the reasons for the low percentage, this is what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is hoping to change – the fact that only 1% of American students in college study abroad.

To read a story on this (and to see the video clip where she appeals to college educators, high school counselors, students, and parents), click on this link: http://www.worldstridescapstone.org/?p=1361

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