A study conducted by Unesco shows that the number of international students has grown by 75 percent since 2000. In 2009, as many as 3.34 million students studied abroad. In many countries, studying abroad remains limited to families who can afford to send their children abroad. But these statistics show that studying abroad is becoming more and more common for students worldwide.
Within the study abroad market, language travel is the largest segment, particularly for English studies. English Australia estimates that 1,504,667 international students travelled to an English-speaking country to learn English in 2008. The reasons for travelling abroad to study English are many and diverse. English language students may wish to continue their studies at an English-speaking high school, college or university. They may want travel or work in an English-speaking country. Or they may wish to gain a qualification that offers them access to much better work or study options at home.
The British Council projects the market for learning English abroad to continue, driven by the growing use of English internationally for business, education and leisure. More people than ever want to learn English. English language learning is increasingly a global norm, a basic skill, with the young learner segment of the market rising as English is more widely taught at primary and secondary schools in non-English speaking countries.
These statistics and projections are all good news for educators and agents in the study abroad space.