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WYSE Study Abroad Panel on housing shortages-policy changes and inflation |
WYSE Study Abroad Panel on housing shortages, policy changes and inflation
WYSE News | March 25, 2024

The Study Abroad panel gets together every few weeks to discuss current developments within the field of international education. These discussions encompass emerging trends, significant industry disruptions, and persistent challenges that require solutions.

Below is a look at some of the recent topics that have arisen during Q1 2024. If you would like to contribute to any of these topics, our Membership team would be delighted to hear from you.

Strong US dollars are impacting demand from Southeast Asia for US cultural exchange programmes
  • Jason of Greenheart International notes Japan’s popularity for Teen Summer Language Camps faces challenges with host family accommodations, as partners seek additional organisations due to economic uncertainty. 
  • Kevin of iTEP reports soft enrolments in the US Summer Work and Travel programme in Thailand. Increased prices and a strengthened dollar result in a 20% price hike for Thai students, leading them to explore alternative vacation options within their own country. 
  • Jacqui from Twin Group observes a shift in demand for study abroad programmes from Chinese families. Traditional destinations like Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US are losing appeal, with Asian destinations, particularly Thailand, gaining interest due to China’s economic instability. Chinese families, prioritising affordability, and post-work opportunities, are now turning to more cost-effective destinations like Thailand for cultural exchange programmes. Refer to this article on ICEF. 
  • Jacqui also highlights some research recently that shows South Korea targets a 30% increase in foreign enrollments by 2027. The government plans to expand opportunities for master’s and doctoral graduates, offering easier pathways to permanent residency.  This article discusses South Korea’s plan, known as the Study Korea 300K Project, which aims to bring in 300,000 international students by 2027. This target represents a 30% increase in foreign enrollment over five years. 
  • Terri of Brigham Young University notes a rise in faculty requests for study abroad programmes in Southeast Asia. The subtle increase in pricing compared to Europe allows for longer programme durations, and Southeast Asian partners welcome US students warmly. 
Inflation and access to international travel, as well as funding sources for travel
  • Jason, Greenheart International, emphasises the challenge of controlling operating expenses, as price increases are not feasible in some markets. Participants often take out loans or borrow money, posing difficulties due to inflation and a strong dollar. 
  • Jacqui, Twin Group, highlights Japan’s outperformance over China in the Asian market, with China dropping to the 4th spot due to travel restrictions. A rebound in group travel is expected in summer 2024. Refer to this article explaining Japan’s economy getting a boost from tourism in 2023. 
  • The UK’s ELT sector experiences significant growth in individual adults from Saudi Arabia, driven by the Government Sponsorship Programme. 
  • Terri, Brigham Young University, mentions that they heavily subsidise study abroad programmes, encouraging students to explore funding sources like GoFundMe accounts and suggesting student loans. Concerns arise over flight cancellations and transport strikes in Europe. 
Impact of housing shortages, policy changes, and cost on choices by participants to study abroad
  • Jason, Greenheart International, highlights the challenge faced by intern/trainee participants on 12 to 18 month programmes, often in lower-paying positions. While participants prefer major cities, they may encounter economic difficulties, urging awareness of opportunities across the US with lower living costs outside major cities. 
  • Kevin, iTEP, notes an increase in accommodation costs on the US Summer Work and Travel programme, offsetting gains in hourly wages, especially in resort areas. 
  • Jacqui, Twin Group, emphasises ongoing accommodation and staff shortages exacerbated by the pandemic. The trend of extended stays for study programmes has emerged, particularly in Australia, Canada, and the US, driven by increased flight costs and families booking longer stays for post-study work opportunities. 
  • Terri, Brigham Young University, expresses concern about housing shortages affecting study abroad programs. Longer-term programmes, lasting 4 to 6 months, face challenges due to price increases and limited availability. To cope, a programme planned for summer 2024 has been shortened by 2 weeks, raising concerns about potential student dissatisfaction and dropouts.