Americans Abroad Part II: Long-term International Education Opportunities


Cost and Tuition: Incentives?

Like the US, many foreign Higher Educational Institutions have a tiered tuition structure, whereby international students pay higher fees than national or regional students (e.g., a British student at a UK HEI or a Swedish student at a Dutch HEI). For example, the University of Portsmouth charges GBP 5,000 to full-time UK and EU students enrolled in its Urban Design one-year M.A. program. However, the university's full-time tuition for non-EU students in the same program is GBP 11,000.

Despite this trend, most international student tuition in foreign countries is much less than in US HEIs. The non-resident tuition (i.e., for non-NYC residents) at the City College of New York, a public US institution, is approximately USD 25,280 for its one-year, full-time M.A. Urban Design program. And according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average US graduate tuition in 2011/12 was USD 15,787.

Language Acquisition: An Obstacle?

Second-language acquisition is another perceived obstacle that prevents many American students from pursuing degrees abroad. As previously noted, the majority of American degree-mobile students enroll in foreign programs in Anglophone countries. While the most degree programs offered in foreign universities are administered in their respective native languages, an increasing number of English-taught programs have been constructed to attract international students. Thus, inadequate second-language acquisition can no longer be deemed a primary deterrent for American students.

While there is still scant research in the field of tracking US students' degree mobility, a plethora of resources exist to aid prospective international students wishing to pursue degree programs abroad. In addition, many countries have developed national strategies to lure larger pools of international students. 

Alongside cost incentives, another motive to pursue one's degree abroad is the opportunity to immerse oneself in a foreign culture. The makeup of many foreign degree programs is often quite diverse, as more non-native English-speaking countries offer English-instruction programs to attract a wide array of international students with competence in the English language. Such programs afford students the unique opportunity to live in a foreign country and interact with not only the people from the host country, but also with fellow international students. Furthermore, internationally recognized credentials and cultural adeptness serve as a way to stand out in a competitive labor market and expand one's career opportunities.

A short list of national agencies can be found below. These agencies act as portals for those interested in pursuing a degree in the respective country can be found at

The Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) also functions as an umbrella organization promoting internationalization. On its site, one can find a more comprehensive list of national agencies in Europe. A full list of IIE partner agencies can also be found on its Project Atlas website.

Canada - Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE)

China - China Scholarship Council

Denmark - Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation

France - CampusFrance

Germany - DAAD

Ireland - Education in Ireland

The Netherlands - Nuffic

Norway - SIU

Sweden - Swedish Institute

UK - British Council



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