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10 International Colleges Attracting More and More Americans

by Staff Writers

With college tuition high and continuing to rise at many schools across the nation, students are looking for ways to save big on costs. Couple that with a desire to spend some time studying abroad, and you have a recipe perfect for sending American students to study in overseas universities. While the majority of students in the U.S. still spend most of their four years at universities in the U.S., more and more are taking to schools abroad, whether they’re close to home or a little more out of the way. Here you’ll find a list of some schools that are enticing American students in larger and larger number to study away from home.

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    University of Hong Kong: While the University of Hong Kong is today under Chinese control, in the past, this city was a British principality. As a result, much of the coursework at the university is still conducted in English. Ranked in the top twenty schools in the world, this university has seen more and more American students heading there to get a degree or spend a few semesters studying abroad. With China a major player in the world economy, for students in business who want to learn more about Chinese culture and language, the setting of the school is ideal, offering both exposure to new things as well as the comforting familiarity of a native language. Of the school’s more than 2,000 international students, a few hundred are American, a number that is sure to continue to rise in coming years.

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    University of Amsterdam: American students don’t necessarily need to speak Dutch to attend this European university. The school has over 100 masters programs taught in English as well as a bachelor’s degree in the language. With a multicultural study body and faculty coming from over 80 different countries, the school offers American students a chance to not only live in Europe, but experience connections with individuals from around the world. Tuition is surprisingly reasonable for foreign students, costing just $12,500 per year, which is why it has become an increasingly popular choice for American students looking to study outside the United States. A growing number of the school’s almost 3,000 international students are now Americans.

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    Simon Fraser University of Burnaby: This college in British Columbia is quite a lure for students looking to save on tuition. With many American schools charge upwards of $25,000 a year for school, Simon Fraser is a bargain, with tuition at only $12,000 a year. Better yet, the school doesn’t require application essays or letters of recommendation. Instead, they look at school grades and test scores to determine admission. These factors, in addition to the high quality of education students can expect to receive, have boosted numbers of students at Canadian universities across the board, with over 10,000 now studying in Canada where there were only 3,500 just 10 years ago.

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    Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology: KAIST, located in South Korea, is an engineering and technology school that has worked hard to become a leader in Asia for educating the world’s next great technology innovators. With a wide range of fellowships and grants for foreign students as well as a respected collection of international faculty, the school is becoming an attractive option for American students of science and math who want to get access to the increasingly powerful Korean technology market. In recent years, the school has attempted to draw in more English-speaking students by teaching a large number of classes in English. While American students are still greatly outnumbered by international students from Asian nations, they are growing, and numbers may continue to swell in coming years as Korea continues to play a big role in technological advancement and research.

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    McGill University: For students who want a foreign language experience close to home, McGill University has become a popular option. Located in Quebec, students can hone their French skills while still taking their most difficult subjects in their native language. Consistently among the top universities in Canada and around the world, the school also offers students a chance to learn from world-class professors and gain respected degrees. About half of the foreign students at McGill are American (about 10% of the total student body), and numbers have been rising as students head into the Great White North to take advantage of lower tuition costs and the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Montreal.

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    Australia National University: With English the national language of Australia, it has long been a top destination for students looking to get a degree away from home or spend a couple of semesters studying abroad. That hasn’t changed in recent years, despite the high costs of many Australian universities, and many students may feel like the cost is worth it to attend a school that has produced numerous Nobel Prize winners and international leaders. Numbers of students attending school in Australia have held steady for the past few years and are likely to increase as more and more international businesses recruit from the top Australian universities.

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    University of Cape Town: While South Africa is still not as safe as many of its European or Australian counterparts, it has seen a pretty big increase in international interest in recent years, with over 4,000 American students studying abroad or attending university there. A portion of those students attend the University of Cape Town, South Africa’s best-ranked college. Students at the school come from an incredibly diverse assortment of backgrounds, and almost 20% of those enrolled are international students, hailing from over 100 different countries around the world. Americans make up a small part of this 20%, but interest in studying in South Africa has grown over the past five years, and now brings in 1.6% of study abroad students and many more who plan four-year programs.

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    University of Buenos Aires: Argentina has seen a huge spike in the number of students choosing it as a study abroad destination in recent years, with a 14.5% increase. Because of this (though also perhaps because of the Buenos Aires reputation as the Paris of South America), Argentina is increasingly becoming a destination for U.S. students looking to attend a four-year degree program outside of the United States. At the U of Buenos Aires, students can expect help in learning Spanish, with courses that reach out to over 900 of the school’s students each year; however, perhaps the biggest draw for American students is the lure of free tuition. Tuition is complimentary for all students, even those coming in internationally, and for students who are looking to attend a school off the beaten path, this can be an alluring prospect.

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    Sophia University: This Tokyo school is famous for attracting a large number of international students, including actor George Takei. This is due to the school’s connection with well-known American universities, as well as its commitment to language education and building bridges between Japan and the rest of the world. Additionally, there are a number of English-language programs that can help students ease into life in the island nation, including degrees in theology, economics and foreign studies. With Japan being a leader in the world economy, studying the language and culture of this country is an exciting prospect for many students, and numbers choosing this and other Japanese universities for study has increased over the past few years.

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    University of Lima: Peru has seen one of the largest jumps in American study abroad enrollment of any nation, though it still draws a relatively small number of students compared to European nations and Australia. Between 2007 and 2009, study abroad in Peru jumped from just 1,638 students to over 2,163 students — a 32% change in just a two=year period. While Peruvian schools like the University of Lima still don’t draw in large crowds of long-term American students, that’s a trend that could be changing as more and more students see it as a serious destination for study. With a rich culture, opportunities to learn Spanish and breathtaking scenery (not to mention well-ranked schools), Peru may just become a major player in the future of international education for American students.