A new global survey by Instead and Study portals reveals that international students considering the US for study abroad are largely indifferent to the outcome of the upcoming 2024 presidential election. While a slight preference exists for a Biden presidency, a significant proportion of students would be more likely to study in the US under a second Trump term.

Survey Insights

  • Preferences: 44% of respondents would prefer Biden, 30% Trump, and 42% are indifferent.
  • Regional Breakdown: Survey included responses from nearly 2,500 students across 106 countries. Majority of participants were from Africa (58%), Asia (29%), and Europe (7%).
  • Program Interests: Most students are interested in graduate (38%) and postgraduate (37%) programs, particularly in STEM fields.

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Motivations and Concerns

  • Career Goals: The primary motivation for studying abroad is career advancement, with many students intending to return home with new skills.
  • Safety and Discrimination: 44% of students are not concerned about religious or racial discrimination, personal safety, or political instability when considering study abroad.

Historical Context

  • In the 2016 survey, there was a significant distaste for Trump and a preference for Clinton.
  • Trump’s first term saw policies that negatively impacted international student enrollment, especially for Chinese and Muslim students.
  • Under Biden, international enrollments rebounded, and the US regained its position as a top study destination.

Current Perspectives

  • Despite Trump’s past restrictive policies, many students view his potential presidency as beneficial for career prospects due to perceived economic growth and job creation.
  • There’s a noted shift in student attitudes, with less concern about the political environment and more focus on educational quality and career outcomes.

Broader Implications

  • The survey suggests a growing desensitization to political volatility among young people, influenced by global challenges and shifting political landscapes.
  • The preference for authoritarian leaders is rising in many parts of the world, reflecting broader political trends.

Conclusion

The 2024 US presidential election appears to have less impact on the attractiveness of the US as a study destination compared to previous years. Students remain primarily focused on the educational and career benefits, regardless of political leadership.

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