Thank you for joining the Department of State and the Department of Education for International Education Week.
When international students and scholars come to the United States – and when Americans study abroad – they bring their talents, perspectives, and cultures to their new communities. And when they work with peers to advance research and knowledge, they spark innovation and forge bonds across borders that can last a lifetime.
Ties like these are vital to working together to tackle global challenges, from combatting climate change and pandemics, to broadening economic opportunity, to standing up for human rights and democracy.
Simply put, international education is a crucial part of our diplomacy and our national security.
It’s also a transformational experience. Studying abroad as a teenager helped me see my own country through others’ eyes – a perspective I carry to this day.
That’s why, as COVID-19 disrupted global travel, we worked hard to preserve these opportunities to learn and grow together. Thanks to the ingenuity of our partners and our participants, we found new ways to keep collaborating – including ones that we’ll make lasting components of our programs. For example, we expanded our Critical Language Scholarship to include a virtual version of the program, called CLS Spark. This way, immersive classes on Arabic, Russian, and Chinese are available to more undergraduate students in the U.S.
Now, as we recover from the pandemic, our exchange programs are bouncing back, too.
Over the last academic year, the number of newly enrolled international students in the United States increased by 80 percent, as we welcomed almost 950,000 students to campuses across our country.
In the years ahead, we’ll continue promoting study abroad programs, in the United States and for American students.
Last summer, the Department of State and the Department of Education released a Joint Statement in Support of International Education, setting out goals to deepen our assistance for these efforts.
Since then, we’ve doubled the length of exchange visas for STEM students doing practical training in the United States, and doubled the number of grants to American institutions as they diversify their study abroad programs. Recently, we also signed an MOU with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to support more Hispanic and Latino students studying overseas.
None of this would be possible without our partners in higher education – at community colleges, four-year universities, minority-serving institutions and more. Thank you for all you do to welcome international visitors and send Americans abroad.
For our students and scholars, here at home and across the globe, I hope this week inspires you to study abroad. I’m confident that it will change you – and our world – for the better.
And with the many programs that the State Department offers – from the Gilman Scholarship to the Fulbright program – I hope you consider studying abroad with us.