January 14, 2021

Foreign On Campus: Debunking the Myths

Happy group of multi-ethnic young students outdoors laughing and holding notebooks

Part 1 of 2. Foreign on Campus is the annual report published by the Global Alliance for International Student Advancement.

Never has it been more important to separate myths from reality. If we’ve learned anything from the past few years, it’s that the explosive growth of online media sources has unleashed a torrent of misinformation about, well, virtually everything.  Those of us in the academic community have a special responsibility to research, evaluate and expose false narratives —the actual fake news—in order to advance a genuine understanding of the issues that confront us.

GAISA’s deep commitment to dispelling harmful myths about international students drove us to produce our second, in-depth report on the state of international education today. With Foreign on Campus 2021, we wanted to take a deep dive into the impact international students have on our institutions of higher education. We especially wanted to focus on the contributions they make to our academic, social, cultural and community wellbeing, beyond the bottom-line value they provide through the high tuition rates they are generally charged.

Our report demonstrates how domestic students, most of whom never get to study abroad, benefit from the global perspectives they gain from having international students on campus. We look at how institutions, and especially STEM departments, benefit from being able to attract some of the most talented and ambitious students in the world. And we examine the role played by international students in the economy beyond their stays on campus. Did you know that 25 percent of U.S. billion-dollar startup companies had a founder who first came to America as an international student?

Debunking the Myths

One key step to creating an inclusive community is to start debunking the myths that often cloud public perception of international students. These include:

  • Myth #1: International students take enrolment opportunities away from domestic students.
  • Myth #2: International students who study in the United States tend to stay and lose connections to their homes, resulting in a brain drain those countries can ill afford.
  • Myth #3: International students bring a radicalized element to our campuses.
  • Myth #4: The proportion of international students on domestic campuses is increasing.
  • Myth #5: International students are all wealthy.
  • Myth #6: International students take jobs away from domestic students.

Each of these statements can be used to push harmful policies—and each myth clouds the truth about our international students. Want to know what we discovered were the real facts behind these statements?  Download our new report now for free!