Wednesday, July 22, 2015

U.S. Becoming a Top Study Abroad Destination for Nigerian Students

By Brittney Bodden
World Education Services
Graphic by Brittney Bodden

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa.” With a populated country full of youth and a steadily booming economy, it’s no wonder Nigerian students have become more prevalent at colleges and universities across the U.S. Presently, the United States is the second most popular study abroad destination for Nigerian students.

In the past five years, Nigerian student enrollment in the U.S. has increased more than 25 percent, according to the most recent Open Doors Report from the Institute for International Education, or IIE. In 2013-14, a total of 7,921 Nigerian students were studying in the United States. Of those students, about half were at the undergraduate level, and nearly two-fifths were at the graduate level. About 57 percent were STEM majors.

Nigeria was also recently featured in WES Research and Advisory Services’ Top Emerging Markets for International Student Recruitment, which notes that the official language of Nigeria is English, giving many Nigerian students an upper hand when transitioning to U.S. culture. Nigerian students are profoundly concentrated in the “Highflier” and “Striver” segments. The former refers to those with high financial resources and high academic preparedness, while the latter refers to students with low financial resources and high academic preparedness.

With many students searching for ways to fund their study abroad opportunities, improving scholarship packages could ultimately attract more students from Nigeria . Furthermore, international admissions experts suggest that alumni become more involved in the recruitment process. Based on interviews conducted by WES, research shows that direct communication with international schools in Nigeria is the most effective way to recruit undergraduate students.

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