November 20, 2014 – The number of Zimbabwean students enrolled in U.S. higher education increased by 3.1 percent to just over 1200, according to the 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released this week. This increase marks a five year high in the number of Zimbabweans studying in the U.S. since dollarization in 2009. In addition, 29 American students studied in Zimbabwe, a 142 percent increase over study abroad figures the previous year.
“I am very pleased to see that the number of Zimbabwean students in the United States is on the rise after the decrease in their numbers following the country’s economic decline of the last decade,” said Ambassador Bruce Wharton. “It is also great to see more American students learning from peers and professors in Zimbabwe. International education is vital to building relationships between people and communities in Zimbabwe and around the world. It is through these relationships that we can work together to solve global challenges such as the spread of pandemic diseases, tackle climate change, and develop our two economies. The economic contributions of international students are an added benefit to the immeasurable academic and cultural value these students bring to our respective countries’ campuses and local communities. They support innovation and research, build bridges between our two countries, developing a global perspective that can enrich humanity,” he added.
The new Open Doors data, published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, was released on the occasion of the 15th annual celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.
The report finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight percent to a record high of 886,052 students in the 2013/14 academic year, confirming once again that the United States remains the global destination of choice for higher education. The overall number of international students in the United States has grown by 72 percent since the first International Education Week briefing was held in 2000. The number of American students studying abroad has more than doubled in the last 15 years.
As part of International Education Week celebrations, EducationUSA Zimbabwe shared information on Star FM at 8pm on “Campus Exclusives” show on Thursday, November 20 and on ZiFM on host Zororo Makamba’s “Culture” show at 8.30 pm on Wednesday, November 26.
The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, with almost double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country. The report also found that more American students – a total of 289,408 – studied abroad for academic credit from their U.S. colleges and universities, although the two percent increase represents a slightly slower rate of growth than the previous year.
“We continue to receive a lot of interest from Zimbabwean students interested in U.S. education as shown by the over 30,000 student contacts we’ve had at our four EducationUSA Advising Centers and the college fairs, high school visits and presentations we’ve made throughout 2014,” said EducationUSA Country Coordinator Rebecca Zeigler Mano. The EducationUSA Zimbabwe office has facilitated visits by representatives of over 40 American universities and colleges this year to enable them to recruit Zimbabwean students. This year they have also launched an joint initiative with partner School Sports Network (www.ssn.co.zw) to work with top Zimbabwean student athletes to access sports scholarships to play sport while studying at universities in the U.S.
Top U.S. officials have pledged to allow more Zimbabweans students in their borders as a continued U.S. commitment to promote international education. “We need to expand access to international education for students from more diverse backgrounds, in more diverse locations of study, getting more diverse types of degrees. Only by engaging multiple perspectives within our societies can we all reap the numerous benefits of international education – increased global competence, self-awareness and resiliency, and the ability to compete in the 21st century economy,” said Evan M. Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Zimbabweans wishing to pursue studies in the United States can visit the EducationUSA Advising Center based at the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section in Eastgate Building in Harare or at the EducationUSA Advising Centers based at the Bulawayo Public Library, the Gweru Memorial Library in Mutare, and the Turner Memorial Library.
IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of international students in the United States since its founding in 1919, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972. Open Doors also reports on the number of international scholars at U.S. universities; international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs; and on U.S. students studying abroad. Further details on the Open Doors 2014 surveys and their findings is available on the Open Doors website at www.iie.org/opendoors