US professionals seeking economic and job opportunities in India
14 Nov, 2006. WASHINGTON: India is gaining popularity as an international study option as record numbers of American students head abroad. 
An annual report that monitors international student flows reaffirms that India continues to send the most number of students to the US. Despite a five per cent drop from a record 80,000 plus last year, India still heads the list with 76,503 admissions in 2006. 

But there is also a small emerging trend in the reverse direction that is of interest in the context of an American student winning a student-body election in JNU over the weekend. 

India is now the 20th leading destination for American students, up 53 per cent this year alone to 1,767, the largest increase after Argentina. 

Remarkably, Russia, once US' Cold War adversary which engendered a whole generation of Sovietologists, has dropped out of the top 20. 

The United Kingdom tops the list with more than 32,000 American admissions, followed by Italy, Spain, France, Australia, Mexico and Germany. China is at 7th place with 6,389 admissions, up 35 per cent over 2005. 

Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, which produces the Open Doors report, notes that US students are increasingly studying in countries such as China and India believing it will provide "useful language and cultural skills for their future careers." 

Some of the American interest in studying abroad has been spurred by the National Security Language Initiative which recognizes that the U.S lacks sufficient number of people who can speak languages such as Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Pashtu, Dari etc, which Washington considers critical in its war in terror.
Americans academics have complained in the past that India has been inhospitable to US scholars, fearful that American intelligence agencies would use them to subvert India, an apprehension that goes back to the 1960s. Those wrinkles appear to have been smoothed over by the increasing economic engagement between the two countries in recent years and India's growing self-confidence. 

Now, with young US professionals seeking economic and job opportunities in India along with increasing academic interest from American students, India might be seeing and hearing more of American youth. Several business schools have been putting India on its agenda in recent months. 

Overall, the numbers of Americans studying abroad has more than doubled in the last decade, up from only 84,403 in 1994/95 to 205,983 this year, an increase of 8 per cent over last year. 

In contrast, the US universities attracted more than half million foreign students each year. US missions abroad issued a record 591,050 student and exchange visas in the 12 months ending in September 2006, a 14 percent increase over the previous year. 

India's 76,503 admissions made up 13 per cent of foreign admissions in the US; China followed with 62,582 students and Korea, Japan and Canada made up the top five. 


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