Studying abroad is poised to make a post-pandemic comeback

Before the pandemic struck in 2020, the number of U.S. students studying abroad had been pretty much rising steadily each year.

Whereas more than 154,000 students from the U.S. participated in study abroad programs during the 2000-2001 academic year, that number more than doubled – to over 347,000 – during the 2018-2019 academic year. That’s according to the Institute of International Education.

The global spread of COVID-19, however, brought the steady growth in study abroad to a screeching halt in early 2020. Students were evacuated from host countries and study abroad programs got canceled. Lockdowns and travel restrictions led the number of U.S. students studying abroad during the 2020-2021 academic year to plummet by 91% to just 14,549.

While official study abroad numbers for 2021-2022 are not yet published, there is reason to expect a rebound. A national survey conducted in April 2022 revealed that roughly 90% of colleges and universities were planning to offer some form of study abroad by the summer of that year.

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