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International Students in MA: By the Numbers

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September has really flown by! Now, almost one month into the school year, a new group of international students are well into their immersion experience in Massachusetts. It’s no surprise that many international students choose to study in Boston, after all, the city is a hub for colleges and universities. If you’re curious about the international student population in Massachusetts (or in the U.S. in general), here is some information you may find interesting!

How many international students study in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is #4 in the ranking of most international students by state. According to the most recent Open Doors Report from the Institute of International Education, Massachusetts had about 62, 926 international students in 2017, a 5.9% increase from the previous year.

Where do international students study?

While Massachusetts has a variety of schools with international student populations, the institutions with the most international students are Northeastern University (13,201), Boston University (8,992), Harvard University (5,978), MIT (4,685) and UMASS Amherst (3,364). Aside from these larger universities, MA and specifically Boston are home to many language schools where students from all over the world come to study English. Students staying with Global Immersions' host families attend these various language schools, as well as different universities and community colleges in the Boston area.

Where do international students in Massachusetts come from?

According to the data, most international students in the state are from China (33.6%), followed by students from India (15.25%), South Korea (4.7%), Canada (3.9%) and Saudi Arabia (2.6%). Most students that study overseas in the U.S. during their college years come from China, however, India has a fast-growing population of international students. It is expected that a larger portion of international students will be from India in the future. 


This map shows the leading places of origin for international students in the U.S. The darker the blue, the more international students from that country.

What do international students in Massachusetts study?

International students are enrolled in many different programs and focus on a lot of different subjects. Many students choose Boston to study language, however, at four-year universities, popular major choices include those in the STEM fields, Business Administration, or the Arts and Humanities. According to Open Doors, in the U.S. most international students are enrolled in doctoral-granting universities, followed by master’s colleges and universities. Of the 20 million students enrolled in U.S. universities, over 1 million are international students. Of that 1 million, about 900,000 are enrolled in universities across the country, and about 175,000 are completing their OPT post-graduation. The chart below shows that on average, the number of international students in the U.S. has increased over time. 


Are you an international student studying in Boston this Fall? Like us on Facebook to take advantage of all the fun (and free!) events happening around the city. We hope you enjoy your immersion experience! 

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