Open Doors 2018 Report Recap

Nadia de Almeida, Higher Education Intern

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In celebration of International Education Week #IEW2018, Partners of the Americas attended the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Open Doors 2018 Report briefing on November 13. 

This year’s Open Doors Report demonstrated both improvements and declines in study abroad to and from the United States. This is the third consecutive year in which over 1 million international students studied in the United States, increasing by 1.5% to 1,094,792 students. 

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The Report concluded that although the overall total increased, there was a 6.6% decrease in new enrollments from international students.

Overall, the 2018 report highlighted growth in several other areas of international study abroad. The number of U.S. students studying abroad increased by 2.3%. Not only are more Americans studying abroad, but they are also more diverse than ever. In the 2016/2017 year, 29.2% of the students identified as racial or ethnic minorities.

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We are pleased to see a continued rise in student exchange and training opportunities and remain committed to connecting higher education institutions across borders to share knowledge, build programs and foster long-term partnerships. 

Providing these opportunities to underserved groups is one of the key components of our 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund offers substantial grants to higher education institutions to increase student mobility across the Western Hemisphere. The long-term partnerships created between institutions allows multiple groups of students to gain language skills, global perspective and hands-on training that prepares them for their future careers. The contributions of the U.S. Department of State and other important donors have let to an immense impact on students’ study abroad experiences. Race Ethnicity of U.S.jpg

Two Partners Alumni also spoke at the 2018 Open Doors event. Joscelin Rocha Hidalgo from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, participated in Partners’ Youth Ambassador Program and was hosted in Arkansas. Hidalgo received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Child and Family Studies from Berea College in Kentucky. 

Though she was a first-generation college student, a full tuition scholarship allowed Hidalgo to pursue her chosen career path. Hidalgo is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at Georgetown University and has plans to conduct research on infant learning in Bolivia. 

IMG_0359.jpgVice President of Education & Global Citizenship, Melissa Golladay, smiles with Partners Alumni Joscelin Rocha Hidalgo.

Giovani Rocha also participated in the Youth Ambassador Program. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rocha came to the U.S. for a three-week exchange. His experience inspired him to apply to higher education institutions in the U.S. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in political science at the University of Pennsylvania. Rocha has worked in the Brazilian government and with the World Bank to further prepare himself. He aspires to create policy that improves housing, health and employment opportunities for all Brazilians. 

Both Hidalgo and Rocha stressed the importance of community they experienced during their exchanges as well as the impact of their stories on encouraging others to study internationally. You can listen to their speeches at the Open Door briefing here.

IMG_0358.jpgPartners Alumni Giovani Rocha discusses the importance of study abroad opportunities.

Highlights of the Open Doors 2017 Report for the Western Hemisphere​

In the Western Hemisphere, four Latin American countries were in the top 20 destinations for U.S. Students studying abroad. Costa Rica maintained its high ranking as the ninth most popular destination. Mexico, Cuba, and Ecuador all saw increases in the total number of American students studying at their institutions, with Cuba increasing by an impressive 21.8%.

Though Mexico saw a 10.8% increase in American students studying there, the number of Mexican students studying internationally decreased by almost the same amount, 10.4%. In contrast, Brazil saw an increase of 12.9% in students enrolling to study internationally.


Costa Rica was the destination for about 3% of total U.S. study abroad participants, although it also experienced nearly a 10% decrease.

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Nicaragua, Canada, and Mexico hosted a total of 36,975 U.S. students for internships and volunteer work. This increased by 13,850 students compared to the top three host countries last year. 

For full degrees and credited courses, Europe makes up 54% of the destinations chosen by American students studying abroad for academic credit. 

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In the Western Hemisphere, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil make up the three largest sources of international students. Unfortunately, the Latin American and Caribbean region is still underrepresented, making up only 13.7% of total international students in the world.

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For more information on the Open Doors 2018 report, visit To follow Partners’ activity in higher education, visit or follow us at #100KStrongAmericas.