U.S. plan seeks to double foreign students numbers

An organization that is expert in sending American students overseas to study says it has launched a five-year initiative to double the number.

The organization, The Institute of International Education, also reported that Costa Rica is in eighth place worldwide in the number of U.S. students who come here. It said that 7,900 students visited the country in the 2011 to 2012  year.

The country attracted more U.S. students than Ireland or Japan, which were ninth and tenth. The only countries that exceeded the number of U.S. students were the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, China, Germany and Australia.

The initiative is being called Generation Study Abroad. More than 150 higher education institutions from 41 U.S. states have already signed the Generation Study Abroad Commitment, including large state and private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions, said the organization.

The Institute of International Education is not a new arrival. It has a 100-year history of helping students study abroad as well as providing help for foreigners who want to study in the United States. It manages the U.S. Fulbright programs for the federal government.

The result of the program will be thousands more American students graduating with the international experience necessary for success in a globalized world, the organization said. The initiative seeks to have 600,000 U.S. students studying abroad, more than twice current numbers.

With 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year, it is clear that major segments of America’s young people are not getting the international experience they will need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work together across borders to address global issues. the organization said in its announcement.

The Institute of International Education will be working closely with U.S. educational institutions and also plans on creating a scholarship fund. It said it already has committed $2 million of its own money to scholarships.

The initiative plans to mobilize 1,000 high school teachers and engage 10,000 alumni and students and make agreements with at least 500 U.S. colleges and universities.

A meeting is set up for Wednesday in New York to determine what it takes to double study abroad numbers, the organization said.

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