Top Trends in Study Abroad and Risk Management: 2017 Open Doors Recap

If you oversee international travel at your institution, staying up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in study abroad can be a challenge. One fantastic resource is the Open Doors Report, published every year by the Institute of International Education in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. This report includes survey responses from roughly 3,000 accredited U.S. institutions. In this blog, we’re highlighting some of top findings from the 2017 report and how institutions can apply this information to help enhance their study abroad and risk management initiatives in 2018.

U.S. Students Studying Abroad:

-The number of American students studying abroad has more than tripled in the past two decades, with 325,339 Americans students studying abroad in 2015/16.
-Europe is the most popular destination for American students, with a 3.5% increase in 2015/16 and led by the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and Germany.
-Roughly 15.5% of students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree studied abroad.

International Students in the United States:

-International students increased by 3.4% to 1,078,822 in 2016/17, and for the eleventh straight year, there has been an increase in the number of international students.
-More than 5% of the 20+ million students enrolled in higher education are represented by international students, for the third year in a row. This is up almost 4% from earlier in the decade.
-About 50% of the total international student enrollment in the United States consists of students from China and India. South Korea is also a top country of origin.

As institutions see an increase in international student enrollment, it is important they address this population in their travel risk management programs. International students face a unique set of challenges such as ensuring proper orientation to the United States, adjusting preconceptions of threats and risks, and conveying when and how best to interact with authorities. A comprehensive travel risk management program that includes resources and advice on how international students can deal with emergencies or challenges in the United States is a great way to further support this growing population going forward.

In conclusion, educational reports like Open Doors are excellent resources to help institutions get a pulse on current study abroad and risk management trends in a broader context. As the rate of students studying abroad continues to grow amid an ever-changing and volatile world, many institutions are even more challenged to strike a balance between academic freedom and responsible caution. Levels of risk tolerance and vulnerability differ, but having  a flexible and resilient travel risk management strategy not only helps protect your students and meet your duty of care—but to also helps your institution adapt to a variety of situations.

Want to learn more about how to protect your students and fulfill your duty of care? Contact us today.