The number of U.S. students studying abroad seems to be increasing significantly on an annual basis. Although there is not adequate research to understand why… the anecdotal evidence would suggest that this generation of “Millenial” students realize the primary need of understanding others that are different than themselves to achieve success in business, politics, and general global welfare.
The 2008 IIE Open Doors Report suggests that in 2006-2007, study abroad by U.S. college students increased by 8% from the previous year and an increase of close to 150% since 1996-1997 (source: http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=131592). The IIE Open Doors Report has been the primary source of data for international education enrollments in the U.S. for several decades. However, it is not clear that the significant increase in study abroad participation data is not merely a result of better data collection and reporting efforts in the last decade.
The Open Doors Report 2008 also suggests that U.S. college students are participating in programs in much more diverse geographic locations, seeing reporting increases in study abroad destinations. “The number of U.S. students studying in China, Argentina, South Africa, Ecuador and India each increased by more than 20 percent over the previous year.” (source: http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=131592).
However, the 2008 Open Doors Report shows insignificant participation in Cyprus. Why should a U.S. college student explore Cyprus as a relevant and meaningful destination for study abroad?
So, if participation in study abroad is increasing, and students are increasingly seeking out “non-traditional” locations, why do so few U.S. college students study abroad in Cyprus? Unofficial reports would suggest that prior to 2005, fewer than five (5) U.S. college students studied abroad in Cyprus every year.
We can only speculate as to why Cyprus has not previously been a common study abroad location for U.S. students. But some of the main speculations include:
1. few Americans know much about Cyprus
2. because the first language in Cyprus is Greek, many American students and Study Abroad Advisors might incorrectly assume that unless students are fluent in Modern Greek language, they would not be able to study at a Cypriot institution of higher education
3. there are very few colleges and universities in Cyprus
4. Cypriot institutions have not promoted themselves to the American study abroad market
5. because Cyprus is a bi-communal society divided by a United Nations demilitarized zone, some people may think Cyprus is a dangerous location
6. because Cyprus is so close to the “Middle East” some people may think that it is an Arab nation and/or may have security issues related to “Middle Eastern” countries