American study abroad students are increasingly heading to Asia

American students are starting to flock to Asia.
American students are starting to flock to Asia.
Image: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

American study abroad students tend to get a bad rap in Europe. And whether they’re falling out of a club at 4am or talking loudly in a silent metro carriage, that’s probably where they’re doing it: Europe. American university students have long flocked predominately to the continent to expand their educational and recreational horizons.

But that’s starting to change. Data from the Institute of International Education (IIE) shows that American students are increasingly skipping Europe to head elsewhere. From 2004 to 2016 (the most recent year for which data was available), nearly 6% fewer American students headed to host nations in Europe, while students heading to nations in Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere were on the rise.

That said, the vast majority of American students are still heading to Europe. In 2016, more than half (54.4%) still took off for the continent, down from 60.3% in 2004.

And what about non-American students who head to the US for their semester abroad? In 2017, Asian students made up the majority of foreign students in America, with six of the top 10-most represented countries of origin being Asian.