The number of American students studying abroad appears to increase significantly on an annual basis. Although there is not enough research to understand the cause, anecdotal evidence suggests that this “Millennial” generation of students understands the primary need to understand others who differ from themselves in order to succeed in business, politics, and global luxury in general.
The IIE Doors Open 2008 report indicates that in 2006-2007, studies abroad for American students increased 8% compared to the previous year and with an increase of nearly 150% since 1996-97. The IIE Open Doors report has been the primary source for enrollment in international education in the United States for several decades. However, it is not certain that the large increase in data related to participation in study abroad was simply not the result of improved data collection and better communication efforts over the past decade.
The 2008 Open Doors report also indicates that students from the United States are taking part in programs in more diverse geographic locations, as they see an increase in the number of study destinations abroad. “The number of American students studying in China, Argentina, South Africa, Ecuador and India has increased by more than 20% over the previous year.”
However, the “Open Doors 2008” report shows little participation in Cyprus. Why should an American student explore Cyprus as a relevant and meaningful destination for studying abroad?
So, if participation in study abroad is increasing and students are increasingly looking for “unconventional” places, then why are so few American students studying abroad in Cyprus? Informal reports indicate that prior to 2005, fewer than five (5) American students were studying abroad in Cyprus each year.
We can only speculate on the reasons why Cyprus was not previously a popular place to study abroad for American students. But some key predictions include:
- Few Americans know Cyprus well
- Given that the first language in Cyprus is the Greek language, many American students and study advisors abroad may mistakenly assume that if students were not fluent in modern Greek, they would not be able to study in an institution. Cypriot higher education.
- There are very few colleges and universities in Cyprus
- Cypriot institutions have not promoted themselves in the American study market abroad
- Because Cyprus is a bicultural community divided by a United Nations demilitarized zone, some may think that Cyprus is a dangerous place
- Because Cyprus is very close to the “Middle East”, some may think it is an Arab country and / or may face security problems related to the “Middle East” countries.
An advanced investigation is not required to know that most of these alleged obstacles to studying abroad in Cyprus should not be obstacles at all.