Now More Than Ever: Celebrating International Education Week
Baltimore, Md. (Nov. 17, 2020) – November 16–20 marks International Education Week, a time to celebrate the power of international education—and the extraordinary impact it has on students and scholarship, on nations around the world, and on global understanding.
International Education Week is more important this year than any in recent memory, as the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. immigration and visa policies threaten international exchange. The harm is bidirectional. At the same time that travel restrictions inhibit Americans’ ability to study abroad, onerous immigration measures jeopardize this country’s long-term ability to attract the best and brightest students and scholars from around the world.
And so this week, I pledge that the University System of Maryland (USM) will advance our position as a leader in international education and our reputation as a welcoming destination for students and scholars across the globe. As a System, we will advocate for laws and policies that create opportunities for international students to study in the U.S., to enrich our research and scholarship, and to contribute to our knowledge economy.
The 2020 Open Doors report demonstrates how international education is suffering. The total number of international students studying in the U.S. dropped 1.8 percent last year, and the number of international students new to American universities continues a troubling four-year decline.
Additionally, NAFSA finds that, for the first time in 20 years, the economic impact of international students studying in the U.S. is less than the year before. International students contributed nearly $39 billion to the American economy last year, down from nearly $41 billion the year prior, and the number of U.S. jobs supported by international students dropped from 458,000 to 416,000.
It’s a tremendous point of pride that the most talented, most ambitious students want to learn in the U.S. and in Maryland, whose universities are among the best in the world. In addition to being a top destination for international students, the USM is home to revolutionary research conducted with international partners, virtual global classrooms, multiple language learning opportunities, and cultural events that demonstrate the value Marylanders place on remaining connected with our global neighbors.
International education enriches the academic experience for all students—domestic and international alike—broadening their perspectives and challenging their thinking. And as we combat a pandemic that sadly separates and isolates us, it’s more important than ever that we remember what unites us as a human community.
Contact: Mike Lurie