Whether it's a summer course, a semester immersion, or a degree program, study abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences in a young person's life. International students enrich classrooms and communities with their ideas, perspectives, and culture. And when they return home, they bring new knowledge, new perspectives, and a deeper understanding of the world.
This year, the number of international students studying in the United States reached a record high. International education is a growth sector for the United States, having increased by 7 percent last year. And worldwide, women make up almost half the total international student body. That's the good news.
Unfortunately, only one percent of American students from two- and four-year institutions are studying abroad.
So as we celebrate International Education Week this year, I am asking all American students to commit to expanding your worldview by studying in another country. And I hope the administrators of American colleges and universities will support this study abroad experience. To get started, visit the State Department's travel website at travel.state.gov, and apply for a passport.
The United States has always been a global leader in higher education. But to remain a leader in this ever-changing world, we must push ourselves to not just think globally, but to get out there and study globally as well.