Since the time of this article's publication, Mark Shay from Abroad101 shared an interesting observation with us. The SEVIS report mentions the number of foreign students present in the country in any given year, meaning that these numbers include full degree students, as well as exchange students. When it comes to American students, however, the focus usually lies on exchange, rather than full degree, students. There is thus some discrepancy as to how the numbers are reported when it comes to international students in the . and . students abroad.
And let's not fool ourselves into arguing that study abroad in and of itself is essential to success. Certainly, it can be much easier to learn a foreign language and culture by being immersed in it. But the value of the experience comes down to motivation, attitude and a given program’s quality. I often meet Americans abroad who insist on searching out the nearest McDonald's or Starbucks, and who may well experience little of the culture or learn little of a foreign language while overseas. One can go abroad with a poorly conceived program and learn nothing. And even the best programs will do little for an unmotivated student.