American influence abroad has undeniably declined in the past decade. A harder pill to swallow is the decline of American affluence. One effect of these twinned trends can be seen in the Institute of International Education‘s Open Doors 2010 report, which describes the decline in American college students studying abroad.
Statistically, the overall change may seem minor – the total number of American college students studying abroad declined by 0.8% – but the details are more interesting:
Open Doors reports declines in the number of America students going to four of the top five study abroad destinations in 2008/09. The United Kingdom, the leading destination, hosted 6% fewer students than in the previous year. Decreases were seen also in the number of students to Italy (down 11%); Spain (down 4%), and France (down 3%). The exception among leading hosts was an increase of 4% in the number of students to China, the fifth leading destination, following a 19 % increase in the previous year.
Despite flat overall study abroad numbers, there were notable increases in the numbers of U.S. students going to some of the less traditional destinations for study abroad in 2008/09. Double digit increases to host countries among the top 25 destinations include Argentina (up 15 %), South Africa (up 12%), Chile (up 28%), the Netherlands (up 14%), Denmark (up 21%), Peru (up 32%) and South Korea (up 29%)…
If one hand gives, the other takes away: American students are bargain shopping and venturing further afield in their quest for Study Abroad locations. If this trend continues, it will be very interesting to see if trade with these countries follows suit.