The Trump administration might not be so much of a deterrent to prospective international students after all. That’s one potential takeaway from new data
released by Intead, a firm that advises colleges on global marketing, and FFPEDUMedia, which runs student-recruitment fairs abroad. In a survey of more than 12,000 students from Africa and Latin America, two-thirds said the political climate in America has no impact on their interest in studying in the U.S.
That’s all the more notable because it was a 2016 survey
by the same companies that first identified the potential headwinds a Trump presidency could bring to international-student recruitment. (A caveat: The 2016 survey was broader, while the more recent work focused on 16 countries.)
I asked Benjamin Waxman, Intead’s chief executive, what he made of the shift, and he had two theories. First, he said, it might reflect the countries – which include Brazil, Mexico, and Tunisia – the students come from: Students who grow up around higher rates of authoritarianism, corruption, or crime might not be as affected by the current climate in the U.S.
Now that we’re in the fourth year of the Trump presidency, attitudes might also reflect the passage of time. “At first you might be alarmed by a challenging situation,” Waxman said, “but as time passes you get more comfortable. It’s human nature.”
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