Written by Joanna Hughes

A report from the Institute of International Education (IIE) revealed that Germany is picking up steam when it comes to attracting American students. Just how popular is Germany as an American study abroad destination, and why is coming on so strong? Let’s take a closer look.

Inbound American Exchange is Strong

According to the most recent figures from Open Doors, a comprehensive information resource on international students, more than 10,000 Americans chose Germany for international studies in the 2013-2014 academic year. Not only was this an all-time high, but it also bested the previous year by a whopping nine percent.

According to German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) President Professor Margret Wintermantel, “Germany’s growing appeal among US American students as a study destination underscores the performance and reputation of German universities. Numerous English-language master’s degree programmes have been established in recent years, which has made it even easier for foreign students to take up study in Germany.”

Where exactly in Germany are Americans headed? Berlin and  Baden-Württemberg topped the list due to their popular and reputable universities.

While Outbound Exchange to the U.S. Weakens

While Americans were flocking to Germany, the feeling was not necessarily mutual. In fact, as American student interest in Germany grew, German student interest in America declined. How much so? Between the 2008/2009 academic year and the 2014-2015 academic year, the number of German students enrolled in full-time degree programs at American universities dropped by a full 20 percent. Higher education insiders attribute this trend to rising tuitions and the high cost of living in the U.S., as well as to the increasing allure of the European Higher Education Area.

So where were the majority of German students headed? According to the Project Atlas roundup of global mobility trends, Turkey, China, Russia, Austria and Italy topped the list.

Still, despite the decline in German interest, the U.S. managed to achieve landmark numbers, according to Open Doors: International students rose by ten percent to a record-high of just under one million confirming its perennial status as the destination of choice among the world's 4.5 million international higher education students.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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