According a report released by the American Institute of International Education on November 11, the number of international students studying in the US during the 2012-2013 school year reached a record high of 819,644, an increase of 7 percent over the previous year. Among them, for the first time, the largest number (230,000) are Chinese students. In contrast, the number of Taiwanese students studying in the US fell to 21,867, only the sixth largest group. This was 5.9 percent lower than the previous year and marked the sixth consecutive year of declining numbers of students from Taiwan.
The Central News Agency reported that the second to the fifth largest source of foreign students in the US during the 2012-2013 school year in their respective order are: India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada. When combining China, India and South Korea, these three countries account for 49 percent of the total foreign student population in the US.
Coming in at sixth place, Taiwanese students are mainly comprised of graduate students (49.7 percent) and undergraduates (27.4 percent). The number of students studying in the US from Taiwan peaked in the 1993-1994 academic year, reaching 37,581, but started to decline in 2007-2008.
Despite decreasing number of Taiwanese students studying in the US, the survey shows an upward trend for Taiwanese students staying in the US to find work after graduation. In 2011 those who applied for US internships after graduation numbered 3,377, and this number jumped to 3,417 last year.
According to the Central News Agency, Miss Yang, who graduated from the University of Southern California (USC), where the majority of international students study, is currently working with a public relations company in Los Angeles. Many of her Taiwanese friends studying electrical engineering at USC are expected to get a high paying job in Taiwan, but they are leery about the culture of overtime and excessively long hours in Taiwan’s technology industry. Most of them have decided to stay in the United States, hoping to accumulate some work experience before returning to Taiwan, said Yang.