May 23, 2013
“I never truly understood myself until I met the other. I never truly met the other until I got past myself. What are time and distance, but bridges to be crossed on my journey to meet the other, and in so doing, find myself?” ~Unknown
International education, whether it is a globalization of academic curriculum or student exchange or both, is important as it forces necessary introspection at the same time it engages the other. We can say “international education” serves as a “bridge” between countries and cultures. Countries may not enjoy good diplomatic relations, people of different religious beliefs may not understand one another, and people speaking different languages may not be able to communicate, but international education promotes cross-cultural understanding when students from different parts of the world work together on a project, share dorm rooms, study or conduct research together. Their different customs, tradition, religious beliefs, political affiliations and different languages are bridged through educational endeavors. The importance of international education goes far beyond the individual…it is citizen diplomacy at its best.
International education is also good for the economy. If you didn’t know this already, it goes without saying that international student exchange contributed an estimated $22.7 billion to the U.S. economy in fiscal year 2011-2012. According to the Open Doors Data – Institute of International Education: “Higher education is among the United States’ top service sector exports, as international students provide revenue to the U.S. economy and individual host states for living expenses, including room and board, books and supplies, transportation, health insurance, support for accompanying family members, and other miscellaneous items.”
Here are the top 10 States in the U.S. and the estimated revenue contributed to each state’s economy in the 2011-12 academic year:
1. California $3.215 billion
2. New York $2.59 billion
3. Texas $1.356 billion
4. Massachusetts $1.49 billion
5. Illinois $1.004 billion
6. Pennsylvania $1.077 billion
7. Florida $935.7 billion
8. Ohio $717.0 million
9. Michigan $758.7 million
10. Indiana $688.2 million
If there are any misconceptions out there about international students being a drain on the U.S. economy or taking seats away from domestic students, the figure reported by IIE’s Open Door should set the record straight.
Useful links: http://eca.state.gov/impact/state-state-data/
Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.