A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Open Doors Report, a survey which tracks the number of students of foreign origin studying in America and American students who study abroad. The report contains two sections: one which discusses trends in foreign enrollment in the United States and another which lists common destinations for American students studying abroad. After combing the statistics tables for data about the Middle East, I discovered that two Middle Eastern countries make the list of the top twenty-five countries of origin for foreign students studying in the United States. Turkey and Saudi Arabia both qualified as top destinations with Turkey sending over 13,000 students a year to American universities and Saudi Arabia sending slightly less at 12,600 in the most recent documented year. The report notes that the government of Saudi Arabia has boosted its scholarship program and that this increase in funding has resulted in a dramatic increase in enrollments (a 28% increase in the last year alone). The majority of Saudis are studying at the undergraduate level (62 %) whereas most Turks (52%) who study in the United States are pursuing graduate studies. No other Middle Eastern country appears on the list of top countries of origin which is led by India, China and South Korea.
As I suggested in my last post on Open Doors, I think some of us who have experience in regional studies may have a skewed perspective on how many students of Middle Eastern origin are in the States. Open Doors reminds us that the number of students of Middle Eastern origin pales in comparison to the number of students coming from Asian and Latin American countries. Another interesting statistic that appears in the report concerns our own institution. New York University is second on the list of universities that have the largest international student body with a population of 6,671 internationals out of a total enrollment of 50,917 students. N.Y.U’s achievement, while laudable, seems less impressive when you look at graduate students as a percentage of the entire student body. For example, Columbia’s total student body is half the size of N.Y.U’s but the number of international students is roughly the same as N.Y.U.’s. , implying that international students comprise roughly a fourth of Columbia’s total student body.
You may view the report here. http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=150817