February 2021
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The Global Lens delivers insight and analysis on issues impacting international education in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 Latin America and the Caribbean Updates


LAC trends from Open Doors - Excerpt from 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange

Dr. Leah Mason - Research, Evaluation & Learning at IIE

Student mobility from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States fell slightly in 2019/20, with declining numbers from Mexico, Central, and South America, offset by growth in the number of students from the Caribbean. Declining numbers of students from the Middle East and North Africa made Latin America and the Caribbean the third-largest regional sender to the United States after Asia and Europe. The 80,204 students from Latin America and the Caribbean represented 8 percent of international students in the United States. Although smaller in the absolute numbers, gains from the Bahamas (+16 percent), Jamaica (+2 percent), and other Caribbean nations in 2019/20 likely reflected the number of displaced students who sought to continue their higher education in the United States following the devastation of Hurricane Dorian (Drier, 2019). In 2019/20, the number of Brazilian students in the United States increased for the third year in a row, up 4 percent. Gains were also seen in the number of students coming to the United States from Costa Rica (+7 percent), Peru (+4 percent), and Argentina (+1 percent).
Although Latin America and the Caribbean remained a popular region for U.S. students receiving academic credit for study abroad, 2018/19 marked the third consecutive year of decline in the number of U.S. students going to the region (-6 percent). Student numbers increased to Mexico (+6 percent) and Chile (+6 percent) and resulted in each country moving up one spot to 11th and 24th largest host country respectively. The number of U.S. students going to Peru increased 3 percent. These gains were offset by declines to Argentina (-13 percent), Ecuador (-9 percent), and Costa Rica (-4 percent), resulting in an overall decline in U.S. study abroad to this region.
Latin America and the Caribbean continued to lead as a regional destination for U.S. students seeking non-credit learning abroad, including work, internship, volunteering, or research experience, with 34 percent of such students pursuing non-credit learning in the region, most notably in Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.
Open Doors Website

For those interested in more detailed descriptive data, information is available in comprehensive data tables and online on our new website. This site allows users to search and access historical information over the past 20 years. To access the 2020 downloadable Fact Sheet on Latin America & Caribbean, click here
Open Doors Report

To purchase a copy of the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange click here.
Custom Data Analysis

Interested in a custom data analysis? IIE will consider custom data requests used for scholarly research (with findings published in aggregate), used by educational agencies for the express purposes of facilitating international student exchange, and those used by a company or firm to facilitated student recruitment for employment in the students’ home countries or home regions. For  more information, click here

 Global Perspective


What is National Study Abroad Day?

IIE co-created National Study Abroad Day in 2020 with Valparaiso University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. It was created to bring awareness to Study Abroad and its lasting impacts to campuses and the global community, especially providing support to the efforts of Education Abroad professionals. This year, National Study Abroad Day is today, February 22.

This year marks the second Annual Study Abroad Day and is a special opportunity for everyone working on International Education and related areas to get involved. Study abroad suffered over the last year due to travel restrictions put in place for student and facilitators’ safety, thus the focus of Study Abroad Day 2021 is preparing to Study Abroad safely as our world reopens, and alumni of study abroad programs sharing their experiences and the value of studying abroad. 

How to get involved!

Here are some guidelines to use if you would like to talk about National Study Abroad Day on your own social media channels. 

Relevant Hashtags:

#StudyAbroadDay  #NationalStudyAbroadDay  #StudyAbroad  #WeWillTravelAgain

Prompts for suggested Posts about Study Abroad Experiences

Prompts to consider when sharing your study abroad experience:

  • What did you love most about the culture where you studied abroad?
  • What did you learn about yourself when you studied abroad?
  • What skills did you learn when you studied abroad and how do you use them today?
  • What would you tell a younger cousin, niece, or friend’s child about studying abroad if you could share one thing?
  • Use your creativity to talk about different aspects of Study Abroad.

 Publications and Research


Fall 2020 International Student Enrollment Snapshot Report
(November 2020)

The Fall 2020 International Student Enrollment Snapshot presents current international student enrollment patterns based on data from over 700 U.S. higher education institutions. The report focuses on international students studying in person or online (in the U.S. or from abroad) at U.S. higher education institutions in Fall 2020. The findings reflect how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the U.S. higher education sector and global student mobility to the United States. The report, conducted by IIE and nine partner higher education associations, is released jointly with and complements Open Doors 2020, which provides a comprehensive view of international student trends from the previous year (2019/20). Open Doors 2021, to be released in November 2021, will survey more than 2,900 institutions to provide a full picture of 2020/21 international student enrollment.
IIE expects to conduct a spring 2021 Snapshot report to update how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected U.S. higher education institutions into the spring semester.


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