With a reported 1,789 Zimbabwean higher education students in the United States for the 2022/23 academic year, Zimbabwe is the second leading country in sub-Saharan Africa, per capita, and the sixth in the overall number of students in the United States. The number of Zimbabwean undergraduate students increased by 24.4%, representing one of the largest increases among all sub-Saharan African nations.
The United States remains in the top three destination countries for Zimbabweans studying abroad, after South Africa and the United Kingdom. The growing interest of Zimbabweans studying in the United States affirms the strong bonds between the people of Zimbabwe and the United States. Of Zimbabweans studying in the United States, 51.4% are undergraduates, 29.4% are graduate students, and 17% are involved in optional practical training (OPT), with the remaining students enrolled in non-degree programs.
Several factors contribute to the success of Zimbabwean students’ applications and acceptance to U.S. institutions. Academic, athletic, and creative scholarships provide a pathway for many students. The U.S. Embassy’s EducationUSA program provides information and guidance to students interested in pursuing tertiary studies in the United States. Four EducationUSA advisors in Harare, Gweru, Mutare, and Bulawayo help students identify the best fit for their needs among the thousands of diverse options in the United States. EducationUSA also provides Opportunity Funds to select high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds to remove application and travel-related financial barriers.
The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe also maintains robust exchange programs that enable Zimbabweans to travel to the United States for academic and professional exchange and prioritizes visa appointments for student and exchange visitors. In the past decade, more than 500 Zimbabweans have participated in the U.S. Fulbright Program, a fully funded academic exchange that represents just a fraction of the Embassy’s nearly two dozen exchange programs. These efforts exemplify the Embassy’s commitment to international student mobility and U.S.-Zimbabwean university partnerships.
Globally, the total number of international students choosing U.S. universities and colleges grew by 11.5%, totaling over 1 million students from countries worldwide. The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education celebrate the 24th annual International Education Week from November 13-17, 2023. This joint initiative highlights the U.S. commitment to international education and the benefits of study and exchange. International student mobility is central to diplomacy, innovation, economic prosperity, and national security, as reiterated in the recent Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education 1 by the U.S. Departments of State and Education.
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