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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — In 2016, the United States reached the highest number of international students in its colleges and universities, surpassing over one million. A particular subgroup of that million is composed of Honduran students whose enrollment in U.S. higher education has increased 12.8 percent, according to the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.
According to the Open Doors Report, almost 2,000 Honduran students are currently studying in the United States, more than any other Central American country.
As a part of current Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez’s plan to further develop the country, he has prioritized bilingual education for students across Honduras. Today, Honduras is the most bilingual country in Central America.
The rational behind this emphasis on bilingual education is that bilingual citizens are able to better integrate into new environments, most notably into American universities, and bringing together people from such different cultural backgrounds increases the chances of a deeper exchange of ideas, conversation and perspectives—three key aspects to a flourishing university environment.
“I am so proud of the future of Honduras; to know that our students are among the highest numbers studying abroad means that they are enriching themselves to ultimately come back and enrich our country. These types of exchanges benefit all of the actors involved, including the students, professors, governments and universities,” said Hilda Hernández, Minister of Communications and Strategy for Honduras.
These types of exchanges have the potential to encourage growth for both Hondurans and Americans on a variety of levels. They can add a more personal face to the country’s name while also opening the door for greater institutional integration between Central and North American political and business leaders.
Locally, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa has started to reflect larger initiatives pushed by the U.S. government that highlight numerous partnerships being developed with local universities, NGOs and academic organizations throughout Tegucigalpa.
Overall, the increase in Honduran students in U.S. higher education has the potential to encourage students to embrace cultural exchange while learning to embody and share the positive aspects of their patria and to instill a global perspective on developing minds, which will hopefully create a strong foundation for the future of both countries. •