1. Americans believe strongly in the benefits of Study Abroad.
Fort-eight percent (48%) of college-bound students say they want to participate in a study abroad program and 28% plan on internships abroad.
More than 75% of the public believes students should have a study abroad or internship experience some time during their college or university years. Among 18-24-year-olds, amost 90% believe this!
2. Americans are now surprisingly well traveled. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the national survey respondents report they have crossed international borders at least once; 62% of high school respondents are international travelers. Therefore, a substantial majority of students arrive at universities who already have some experience abroad.
3. Americans believe that knowledge of the world, international issues, and other people’s cultures will be important for their children’s careers. Ninety-three percent (93%) believe knowledge of international issues will be important for their children and other young people’s careers. The same number believes it is important to know about other cultures and customs.
4. Americans have a much greater understanding of the importance of an international education. Almost 80% of the public believes international education opportunities are an important consideration when selecting a college or university; for high school students the figure is over 83%. More than 90% of the high school students agree that international education will help them work with people from other cultures, while 88% say it will give them a competitive edge in the workforce. 85% of college-bound students say they plan to participate in international courses or programs.
5. American attitudes to foreign languages have changed significantly. Currently, 85% of the public believe it is very or somewhat important to speak another language, an increase of 20% over a similar survey in 1988; 78% of students are very or somewhat interested in becoming proficient in a foreign language, compared with 54% in 1981.