The number of foreign-exchange students in U.S. high schools has dropped since the 1990s.
The Council on Standards for International Education Travel, an Alexandria, Va.-based group that identifies and supports international youth-exchange programs, estimates that some 25,000 international students entered the United States in 2003-04, compared with more than 30,000 students annually during the ’90s.
The group’s executive director, John O. Hishmeh, attributed the decline to the likelihood that fewer U.S. high schools were willing to host exchange students because of budget constraints. He said it also appears as if fewer families volunteer to provide homes during the time the students live in America. Security concerns after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, probably played a role as well, he added.
Anecdotal evidence, meanwhile, suggests that countries such as Australia have registered increases in the numbers of foreign-exchange students in the past few years.
Germany sends the largest number of exchange students to the United States, followed by Brazil, South Korea, and Japan.
Exchange programs, said Mr. Hishmeh, are the “cornerstone of U.S. diplomacy.”
Coverage of cultural understanding and international issues in education is supported in part by the Atlantic Philanthropies.
A version of this article appeared in the January 19, 2005 edition of Education Week