Monday, May 01, 2023

Where Students Travel to Study Abroad

The European Commission's Erasmus programme allows university students across Europe to study abroad as part of a continent-wide student exchange scheme. Under the programme students can study at a foreign university for up to one year of their undergraduate studies. Over the years more than 9 million European students have used the scheme to travel and study abroad.

The Erasmus Network interactive flow map visualizes where 3.3 million students have studied abroad as part of the Erasmus programme from 2008 to 2020. If you enter a city or town into the map you can view where students from the city have traveled to and from as part of Erasmus. For example if you enter Paris you can view a flow map showing where in Europe students from Paris have studied abroad and where exchange students studying in Paris have traveled from (London, Berlin and Madrid appear to be the most popular destinations for students from Paris). The map also includes a timeline option which allows you to filter the map by a specific period of time. 

Because of how the data is collected by Erasmus the map only shows travel between towns and cities rather than individual universities. This means, for example, that it is not possible to view a flow map for any of the individual universities in London. You can only explore where students studying in London as a whole have traveled to and from. 

The Erasmus Network map was created using FlowmapBlue. FlowmapBlue is a great tool for creating interactive flow-maps. To create a flow-map with FlowmapBlue you just need to save your data to a Google Spreadsheet. FlowmapBlue will then automatically create a flow-map from the data in your spreadsheet.

Many universities make a huge amount of money from enrolling and teaching students from overseas. In the USA a very large number of overseas students come from China. India sends the second largest number of students to study in America.

UNESCO's Global Flow of Tertiary-Level Students is an interactive map which visualizes the flow of students around the world. The map allows you to view the number of overseas students studying in every country around the world and where those students come from. It also allows you to see the most popular destinations for students from each country choosing to study abroad.

China exports by far the most students of any country in the world. The USA is the most popular destination for Chinese students studying abroad (309,837 students). Australia (128,498) is the next most popular country for overseas students from China, followed by the United Kingdom (89,318) and Japan (76,537).

According to the map nearly 73,000 Americans choose to study abroad. The most popular destination for Americans studying abroad is the United Kingdom (15,654), followed by Mexico (11,109), Canada (8,355) and Grenada (4,855). 

Without wishing to upset Grenadians I was a little surprised that Grenada was such a popular choice for Americans studying abroad. I therefore Googled "Why do Americans study in Grenada?". Although I couldn't find a direct answer to the question I did receive a lot of results about studying for a medical degree in Grenada. It is therefore possible that Grenada is a popular choice for students who wish to become doctors but who might struggle to be accepted at one of the U.S.'s hugely competitive medical schools.

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