Numbers of international students increase

A dozen high school students on a classroom break are all heads down, their fingers flying across smartphones and iPads in a second floor lounge in Sacred Heart University’s brand new business school.

When asked who he was texting, Qin Chen, a student from Ningbo, a seaport city in the Zhejiang province of China, said “communicating with my friend at home.”

Here to soak up as much of the English language as he can in 16 hours of instruction a week, Chen and some 38 classmates are part of a growing number of international high school students spending summer break in America.

 The number of international high school students coming to the U.S. on student visas is steadily climbing. In 2013, there were 73,019 international high school students, either in exchange programs or enrolled in U.S. high schools on student visas. Connecticut ranked seventh nationwide among states in the percentage of international high school students at 4.5 percent of the secondary school population.

Participation in shorter term intensive English language programs, has also also grown since a big drop off after 9/11 when limits were placed on student visas and the recession hurt traveling globally. Nationwide in 2013, there were 125,973 students here on student visas enrolled in English language camps, compared to 43,003 in 2003.

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