Number of international students studying in the US in 2019/20, by country: Germany is the most from the EU

The United States is one of the most popular countries in the world to study in. Learn more, including the most popular majors for international students, here.

The United States of America is one of the top choices for international students when it comes to studying abroad. In fact, it’s no wonder that the United States hosts the most number of international students in the world, with more than a million in 2020.

Some of the reasons for pursuing a higher education in the United States include top-notch education, plenty of opportunities post-grad, a unique and multicultural environment, and plenty of hands-on practice through internships.

As it turns out, the most number of students from the EU came from Germany, with a little over 9,000 in the 2019 to 2020 school year. By obtaining a student US visa for German citizens, international students can ensure a bright future by studying in the United States.


Let’s take a look at some other interesting statistics about international students, including their country of origin, the most popular universities for foreigners, and more.

 Which countries do international students come from? 

According to Statista, the country with the most international students in the United States is China. In the 2019/2020 school year, there were more than 372,000 Chinese students in the United States.


At slightly more than half of China’s figures, the next most popular country of origin was India, with about 193,000 international students. South Korea came in third place with 49,809 students, followed by Saudi Arabia (30,957), Canada (25,992), Vietnam (23,777), and Taiwan (23,724).


The majority of international students from Europe came from the United Kingdom (10,756), along with Germany (9,242), France (8,471), and Spain (7,939).

The most popular universities for international students 

Those planning to study in the United States are spoiled for choice: according to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were more than 3,900 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States as of 2020.

Although that sounds like a huge number, about 20% of international students study at one of 15 universities.

The university with the highest enrollment of international students is New York University, with 19,605 students coming from other countries. Besides being known for its famous visual and performing arts program, NYU’s most popular majors include Business (especially Management and Marketing), Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, and Health Professions.

The university with the second-highest number of international students is located on the opposite coast and is none other than the University of Southern California. With 16,340 international students, USC draws potential students in with its fantastic cinematic arts program.

Besides being close to Hollywood, USC has a long list of notable alumni including Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow, and George Lucas.

Likewise, it is the oldest private research university in California and was recently ranked as the 19th best university among more than 1,000 public and private institutions by the Wall Street Journal.

Coming in at third place is Northeastern University-Boston, which has 16,075 international students enrolled across dozens of programs. Besides an attractive location in Boston, Northeastern also has an international campus in Toronto as well as regional campuses in the United States, including the highly-coveted Silicon Valley.

Prestigious Columbia University takes fourth place, with 15,897 international students, followed by University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign in fifth place (13,497 students), Arizona State University-Tempe in sixth place (13,324 students), and University of California Los Angeles in seventh place (11,942 students).

According to the International Institute of Exchange, the United States continues to be the destination of choice for international students.

Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, notes, “We are happy to see the continued growth in the number of international students in the United States and U.S. students studying abroad.”

Royce continues, “… We want even more students in the future to see the United States as the best destination to earn their degrees. International exchange makes our colleges and universities more dynamic for all students and an education at a U.S. institution can have a transformative effect for international students.”

 The most popular majors for international students

The United States offers more than one hundred different programs, majors, and specialities. However, one clear winner stands out: during the 2018/19 school year, more than 51 percent of  international students studying in the United States pursued a major in the STEM fields.


Vying for second place is Business Management and Math and Computer Science programs. In recent years, Computer Science students grew by 9.4 percent thanks to the booming popularity of start-ups, the need for innovative new thinkers, and wide areas of discipline (including mathematics, software engineering, computer programming, and information sciences).


After Business Management in third place, other popular majors for international students include liberal arts, social sciences, and physical and life sciences.

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