Use of US dollar sees more elite Zimbabweans enroll at US colleges

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THE number of Zimbabwean students studying in the United States increased by 2.5 percent to 1,377 students in the 2019-20 academic year, according to the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. 

Zimbabwe remains the 6th leading country of origin for students in the United States from sub-Saharan Africa.

“The increasing number of Zimbabwean students choosing the United States signals the strong bond between our two peoples.  These students enroll in U.S. universities and colleges to gain professional skills that will serve them well in Zimbabwe,” says Ambassador Brian A. Nichols.

“International education allows young people to acquire the cultural competency and critical thinking tools sought by employers around the world.  The U.S. government continues to support Zimbabweans who take part in various exchange and education programs, demonstrating our commitment to empowering young Zimbabweans,” said Ambassador Nichols.

The release of the new Open Doors data marks the beginning of the 2020 International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from other countries to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

Zimbabweans study in the United States primarily at the under-graduate level with 52 percent enrolled at that level in 2019-20, 27.5 percent at the graduate level, and 19 percent pursuing optional practical training.

The data shows that for the fifth consecutive year the United States hosted more than one million international students (1,075,496) during the 2019/2020 academic year.  More than half (52 percent) of all international students pursued majors in the STEM fields – that is, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  In particular, engineering remains the most popular major for international students with one in every five pursuing studies in this field.  The fields of math, computer science, and physical science continued to increase (+1 percent each).

Open Doors also reports that in 2018/19, the number of U.S. students studying abroad (347,099) for academic credit grew by 1.6 percent.  Study abroad for academic credit has grown for 10 consecutive years.  This serves as a benchmark for the strong interest in study abroad prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. – Newzim