HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A report released Monday reveals that a record number of international students are attending US colleges and universities.
Open Doors, a non profit group, works with the State Department to release these yearly reports, and this is the seventh year in a row they've seen an upward trend.
The study says that a record breaking, 819,644 students traveled to the U.S. from other countries, in the 2012-2013 academic year. Seventy-two percent of these students receive a majority of their funds from outside the US, according to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.
International students contributed more than 24 billion dollars into the economy last year.
South Carolina ranks number 35 for foreign students in the state, with a total of 5,089 students. According to the study, foreign students spent about $125 million in South Carolina last academic year.
Local colleges and universities are seeing an upward trend in global education.This means more people are moving to our area, and experts say the growth is likely to continue.
Coastal Carolina University's International Programs Director Geoffrey Parsons says global education is a two way street. "We have partner institutions that bring students to coastal from other countries and in return we send our students there." He says this helps build relationships between the US and other countries.
CCU has around 100 international students, including student athletes. CCU isn't the only local college promoting global learning, Horry Georgetown Technical College has roughly 160 international students, as well.
Of the 16 technical colleges in South Carolina, HGTC, the fourth largest, has the highest international student rate in the state, according to Shirley Butler, Assistant VP of Academic Affairs.
HGTC educators believe traveling raises awareness for what the world has to offer. Universities find that many people are coming to America for jobs and then taking advantage of educational opportunities. "They're coming here to work, perhaps in the hospitality field and then once they come here they see the opportunities for education and change their work visas to student visas," Butler says.
According to the report, most of the international students come to the US from China. At HGTC, 25 percent of International students this year are from Russia.
The study also shows the number of US students studying abroad increased to an all time high of 283,332 students.
HGTC is celebrating their fifth year of study abroad programs, hosted by Professors Sam Klein and Hyde Abbott, with 15 to 20 students attending. More than 140 CCU students are traveling abroad.
CCU is celebrating International Education Week from November 11 to November 14. This is a week of free events at CCU, open to the public.
The events include international speakers, to promote programs that prepare Americans for success outside the US. This week allows people to experience international learning in Horary County, especially those who have not studied abroad.
"It's information but also awareness. The whole idea is that I don't think you can remind people enough that we are part of a much larger world and that the prospective that we have could be broadened," says Parsons.
International Education Week Events:
Monday, Nov. 11
Documentary: Kicking It (2008)
Synopsis: The lives of homeless people are changed forever through an international soccer competition. This film follows six layers as they set off for Cape Town, South Africa, to play in the Homeless World Cup.
Location: Johnson Auditorium, Wall Building
Tuesday, Nov. 12
Speaker: James O'Sullivan
Topic: Global Trade and Its Impact on the USA and the American Worker
Location: Edwards 247
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Film: Outsourced (2006)
Synopsis: After his entire department is outsourced, an American novelty products salesman heads to India to train his replacement.
Location: WALL 309
Thursday, Nov. 14
Speaker: Samih Baalbakki
Topic: The Middle East, Today!
Location: WALL 309