Tracking U.S. College Students Who Study Abroad in Sub-Saharan Africa

map_outline_africaAccording to data from the Institute of International Education, more than 289,000 American students studied at foreign institutions of higher education during the 2012-13 academic year. This was up 2.1 percent from a year earlier. A majority of Americans studying abroad attended universities in Europe.

Of all U.S. students studying abroad, 13,411, or 4.6 percent, attended universities in sub-Saharan Africa. The number of American students studying in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 4.3 percent from the previous year. Sub-Saharan Africa sends 2.3 times as many students to American universities as America sends to sub-Saharan African universities.

Among sub-Saharan African nations, South Africa was by far the most popular destination. In the 2012-13 academic year, 5,337 American students studied in South Africa. Ghana hosted 2,086 American students in the 2012-13 academic year. More than 1,000 American students studied abroad in Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Botswana, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zambia hosted more than 200 American students.  Namibia, Cameroon, and Madagascar were the only other sub-Saharan African nations hosting more than 100 American college students.

While the data does not reveal what percentage of American students studying abroad in Africa are African Americans, we do know that of the 289,408 American students studying abroad in all areas of the globe, about 5.3 percent, are African Americans. A decade earlier in the 2002-03 academic year, African Americans were 3.4 percent of all American students who studied abroad.

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