By CareerPlan Consultant writer

The number of international students has witnessed an unprecedented growth over the years. More and more young people are evincing interest in pursuing a foreign academic program. Amongst the predominant incentives for this pattern include the search for quality education and employment opportunity.

The United States and Australia are some of the biggest hosts of international students with both countries boasting reputable and quality education. With the United States hosting the biggest number of Universities than any other country in the world, it acts as ideal destination for students from different parts of the world. However, there are striking statistics to suggest that the Australia is increasingly beating the United States as the most preferred destination for foreign education and subsequent employment.

The dramatic change of the US immigration policy is one of the key factors prompting international students to seek alternative destinations. International students see that  president, Donald Trump has engineered a nationalistic foreign policy characterized by stricter rules for those who want to migrate to the US. For instance, he has enforced new mechanisms requiring extreme vetting on Muslim students. This means that people have become increasingly wary of their future in the United States, thereby opting for alternative educational and employment destination.  Despite these recent formal policy restraints, the American society as a whole still remains welcoming to international students, including subsequent migration.

At one point the United States government indicated that it would completely block Muslims from entering the United States. This development explains the dramatic reduction in the number of students going to the US from the Middle East, who are predominantly Muslims. Other regions showing a similar trend include India and China, the two countries that account for half of the international student population in the United States.

While the enrollment of international students in United States universities rose by about 7 % in 2016, it indicated a negative trend compared to the previous years. Before 2016, the increase in enrollment was at least maintained at a minimum of 10%. The undergraduate and post-graduate students account for the largest of the data discrediting the US a preferred foreign destination for work and education.

While the numbers of these students rose by over twenty-three thousand in 2015, it only grew by less than seven thousand in 2016. On the other hand, Australia has witnessed an overwhelming increase in the number of international students.  Most of the ailing in the United States educational institutions began in the 21st century where the increase in college enrollment has dropped by up to 10% in 10 years.

Most of the international students in the United States come from China; the country that helps to contextualize the issues at hand. Enrolment of Chinese students in the United States universities has faced a dramatic drop in the recent years. Just slightly above three hundred thousand Chinese students studied in the United States by 2016, representing an almost 11 percent drop from the previous year.

The changes made to the United States immigration policy are expected to result in a diplomatic crisis with some major countries. The implementation of the international relations strategy results in major challenges, even beyond the US educational systems. The United States Universities and colleges continue to report worrying trends concerning the experiences of families and individual students as they try to come to terms with the new immigration policy.


Prospective international students particularly from the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia continue to raise concerns over the dramatic increase in visa denials. There are also increased perceptions that the US climate is unfavorable to foreigners, an issue that was not the case in the previous decades. Those who seek to explore educational and subsequent employment opportunities in the United States are wary of the possibility of a twist in expected benefits and restrictions.

It is also feared that the restraining immigration policy could spread to other countries or result in immeasurable limitations. In this case, international students are increasingly opting out of the US and choosing other foreign educational destinations.  Australia conspicuously stands out as one of the most preferred alternatives, judging by the dramatic rise in the number of annual applications from different countries.

While the United States does not fall short of quality education and diverse opportunities for employment, there are major incentives for studying in Australian universities. Most profoundly, Australia has one of the best higher education institutions and a firm academic policy, making the country as the next best alternative for international students. Most international students prefer an English speaking country with high-quality education. This trend leaves out the UK, the US, and Australia as the three leading destinations of higher learning for international students.

However, with the UK and US experiencing a possible diplomatic crisis, Australia stands out as the most preferred destination. It is also found that graduates from the Australian institutions have a high success rate in finding jobs in the county and beyond. Their universities stress quality educations, characterized by extensive research and training in a way that surpasses the universal demands of major industries.


Bureaucratic hurdle is also at heart of the preference by international students to study in Australia instead of the West. Other than the existing immigration policy constraining the entry of foreigners in the UK and US, American and British agencies have developing an increasingly negative reputation in processing visas. There are numerous victims of unprofessional treatment where visa applications get rejected for no legitimate reason. Students cite the controversies regarding visa application a major hurdle towards studying in the United States.

On the other hand, international students find that Austria has a friendly approach to visa processing. It is cheaper and faster to acquire an Australian visa compared to that of the UK and the US. There is a greater probability of acquiring an Australian visa on first applications. On the contrary, second-time applicants are more likely to be denied the opportunity to secure a place in the American employment of educational sectors.

The friendlier foreign policy makes Australia is likely to overtake the United States as the most preferred destination for international students. It is apparent that the quality of education is not enough to sustain international students in America. People require a friendly environment to interact and feel physically and socially secure.

Australia prioritizes international relations to create a sense of security to the foreigners. It is also important to note that the country has better educational support services including numerous scholarships accorded to thousands of students every year.  These incentives, together with equitable employment opportunities coupled with a lower cost of living, helps international students to lead a better life in a foreign land. It makes Australia better than the USA for international students who want to stay on work in the new country after studies.


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