More students studying abroad - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

More students studying abroad

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Students circling the globe is nothing new.

But according to a report by the Institute of International Education, a record number of students are coming and going overseas for college.

Students are traveling in both directions at record levels. More than 800,000 international students were enrolled in a U.S. college or university last year, a 7.2% increase over the previous year. Additionally, American students studying abroad increased 3.4%, to an all-time high of 283,332, in 2011 and 2012.

"We have over 140 international students from 43 different countries that are here on campus studying either for a bachelor's degree or as exchange students," said Don Grinager, Director of International Programs at Augustana College.

There are many reasons foreign students are attracted to America.

"Here we have high-quality education and the environment to study here will be better," said Zhenghan Li, an overseas student.

Zhenghan Li came here from China and is a freshman at Augustana studying computer science. He says that being surrounded by American culture has helped it soak in.

"I just think I've improved my English a lot because I have to speak English here," said Li.

Professors agree that learning in a new place can make it exciting.

"As an instructor taking students not just outside of the classroom, but outside of South Dakota and outside of the United States opens the students' minds in a way that we just can't do when we're here on a campus," said Daniel Howard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology at Augustana College.

And it works both ways. Echo Bartos is an Augustana senior who studied abroad in Spain.

"This is your time to travel when you're in college. It's really important to get out and kind of see what other countries are like," said Bartos.

She says it can be difficult to set everything up, but is definitely worthwhile. The International Programs Director at Augustana says study abroad programs can open up possibilities.

"We think that these kinds of international experiences add to their credentials in a way that helps them get into graduate school or helps them have an advantage of getting job opportunities," said Grinager.

China continues to send the most students to the USA, including 235,597 last year, up 21.4% from the year before.

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