ORLANDO — It’s well known that the Orlando area is a major destination for international visitors. Given that this region offers everything from the theme parks to International Drive as well as close proximity to the beaches, it’s no wonder visitors from all across the globe have been flocking to the area for decades.
There’s another group of foreign visitors who come here every year, but they arrive for more than just trips to those popular tourist spots. They’re international students.
Orlando, and its schools, have been a magnet for them as well.
Florida has a strong reputation as a tourist destination, that’s for sure. But the Sunshine State is also developing an international reputation as a top-flight education destination. Central Florida’s colleges has gained recognition for being among the best in the nation.
That appeal isn’t limited to colleges like the University of Central Florida, Valencia College, or Full Sail University. Many applicants come here as high school students, drawn by the appeal of the prestigious boarding schools that the Orlando area hosts.
What Draws Foreign Students to Orlando?
High standards at these boarding schools, and their reputations for academic excellence, are key reasons why parents are so pleased to see their children accepted into American boarding schools.
For decades, Orlando area boarding schools have accepted international students who know that the local educators will provide them with all the educational tools they need as they move toward applying for college and advancing along their chosen career paths.
What are the top destinations for the world’s students, once they decide they don’t want to study at home?
International mobility has enabled a growing number of students to seeker higher education opportunities elsewhere, and studies indicate the United States is still the top destination for foreign students.
Nearly 1.2 million international students came to the U.S. to study during the 2016 school year alone. Surveys of international students studying in the U.S. indicated there are several reasons why the U.S. ranks higher than other nations.
Those students reported they come here seeking:
• Unique and varied academic paths to choose from;
• A strong reputation for higher education;
• World-renowned colleges and universities;
• Multiple educational options and educational diversity;
• Student academic clubs;
• The ability to learn useful, practical skills;
• Career-oriented educational opportunities;
• Advanced library systems.
Of course, there’s one other significant advantage: the ability to learn while also experiencing all that American life has to offer.
Another key reason is that the U.S. excels when it comes to providing educational opportunities here for students interested in STEM fields. Many international students come to the U.S. looking to pursue academic careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in the 2012-2013 academic year, international students earned 57 percent of doctoral degrees in engineering, 53 percent of doctoral degrees in computer and information sciences, and half the doctorates in mathematics and statistics.
Advantages of Boarding Schools
International students are also drawn to the idea of life in a boarding school. These schools offer benefits that the student may not be able to find in their home country, including:
• The high quality of the teachers;
• Smaller classes that provide greater interaction between students and educators;
• Residential campus environments that create a unique setting for learning;
• Preparation for life in college;
• Interaction with other international students, which creates a feeling of comradery.
That’s why boarding schools in Central Florida have always welcomed students from around the world, who want to experience the excitement of studying in the Greater Orlando area, while also taking advantage of everything a high-quality boarding school offers.
From personalized learning to the first-rate college preparatory classes that are being offered, international students will get a terrific experience studying here. Teachers take a personal interest in each student and help them adjust to life at an American school.
While it can be challenging at first for some international students to make the adjustment to being in an American school, foreign students receive the benefit of college counseling programs. They will develop life-long friendships with their American classmates, and build a path to an amazing future.