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A Quick Guide: Difference Between International And Foreign Students

difference between international and foreign

International and foreign students are often interchangeable, but they are different. 


Understanding the difference between these two groups of students is important for universities, institutions, and even governments. 


It impacts how students are treated, their access to resources, and their eligibility for financial aid. 


This article aims to comprehensively explain what sets international and international students apart and why it is important to understand the difference.


The term “international student” refers to a student who comes from a foreign country to study in another country. 


International students typically come to study for a specific period and are considered non-residents for tuition purposes.


They are often required to obtain a student visa and may face unique challenges, such as language barriers and cultural differences.


Foreign student,” on the other hand, refers to a student who is a citizen of one country and studying in another. 


International students may have different motives for studying abroad, such as taking advantage of educational opportunities not available in their home country or seeking to improve their language skills.


This article will delve deeper into the definitions of Foreign and international students


Explore the key differences between the two groups. 


Examine the impact these differences have on student life, universities and institutions, and immigration and employment policies.

What is the Difference between International And Foreign?

There is a big difference between international and foreign. 

Foreign refers to anything that pertains to another country. People, places, things, and ideas can be described using it.

For example, “He’s a foreign student studying in the United States.” In this sentence, foreign modifies students. It tells us that the person is from another country.

International refers to anything that involves two or more countries. It is often used to describe organizations or agreements between nations. 

For example, “The United Nations is an international organization.”

In this sentence, international modify organization. It tells us that the organization includes members from multiple countries. 

So when deciding which word to use, think about whether you’re talking about something involving one other country (foreign) or multiple countries (international).

International Students by Country of Origin

Studying abroad can be beneficial for many reasons. For some, it’s an opportunity to learn about a new culture and language. Others are drawn to the challenge of adapting to a different academic system.

And for many, it’s simply the chance to adventure in a far-flung corner of the world. 

Whatever their motives, more and more students are venturing outside their home countries to pursue their education. 

In fact, according to UNESCO, there were 5 million international students enrolled in higher education institutions around the world in 2014 – a number that has been steadily rising in recent years.

So which countries are sending the most students abroad?

International Students in the U.S.A.

Nearly one million international students attend colleges and universities in the United States

They contribute over $32 billion to the economy and support nearly 400,000 jobs. International students also add to the diversity of campuses across the country.

The vast majority of international students come from just a few countries. 

The top five sending countries are China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. Together, they account for nearly 60% of all international students in the United States.

The majority of international students travel to the U.S. to pursue undergraduate degrees.

However, there is significant growth in the number of graduate students coming from abroad. 

Business, engineering, and computer science are the three subjects that international students choose to study the most.

Applying to a college or university in the United States can be daunting for any student. 

Still, it is especially challenging for those coming from another country. Many resources are available to help international students throughout the application process and beyond.

International Students in the U.k.

There are several reasons why international students choose to study in the U.K. 

The U.K. is home to some of the world’s best universities, consistently ranked highly in global league tables. U.K. Offers a diverse range of courses and programmes only available in a few places.

Studying in the U.K. allows students to improve their English language skills and experience British culture first-hand. 

So what exactly is an international student? An international student is defined as someone who holds a non-EEA passport and who is studying on a full-time basis at a university or college in the U.K.

To be classed as an international student, you must also be enrolled on a course that leads to a recognized qualification (such as a degree, master’s or PhD). 

You must first obtain a student visa if you’re thinking about studying in the United Kingdom.

Your country, your intended course of study, and the length of your stay in the U.K. will all affect the type of visa you require.

You will be permitted to work full-time during the summer and part-time during the school year once you get your student visa (up to 20 hours per week).

Which Country Has Most International Students 2023

students who choose to study abroad are increasing as the world gets more connected.

According to a recent report from UNESCO, over five million students were enrolled in higher education institutions outside of their home countries in 2018.

In the coming years, this number is only expected to increase.

So which countries are most popular with international students? 

Here are the top 10 destinations for 2023, based on data from the Institute of International Education: 

United States – 1,078,822 international students

United Kingdom – 489,760 international students 

China – 436,075 international students 

Australia – 372,775 international students

Japan – 244,067 international students 

Canada – 235,069 international students

International Students Statistics Worldwide 2023

The international student population has grown tremendously in the past decade. 

Over 5 million international students are now enrolled in colleges and universities worldwide! That’s a lot of students studying abroad!

So, what countries are home to the most international students? According to the latest statistics, China is at the top of the list, with over 1 million international students. The United States is second, with just over 1 million international students.

India, South Korea, and Japan follow these two countries. Surprisingly, the top ten nations with the most international students do not even include the United Kingdom.

This is even though it is one of the American students’ most popular study-abroad destinations.

The top 10 list excludes well-known study-abroad locations like Australia and Canada.

So, why are China and the United States home to so many international students? This trend can be attributed to several factors.

For one, both countries have a large number of colleges and universities that offer high-quality education. 

Both countries have English as their official language, which makes them attractive destinations for non-native English speakers who want to study abroad.

Both countries offer scholarships and financial aid opportunities, making studying abroad more affordable for many students.

In 2023, the number of international students studying abroad is expected to reach 8 million. 

This represents a significant increase from the estimated 6 million international students worldwide. 


This anticipated growth can be attributed to several factors.

The global population is increasing, meaning that there are more potential students to choose from. 

Many countries are now offering scholarships and other financial incentives to encourage international students to study in their countries. 

The rise in technological advances means it is easier for students to connect and find information about studying abroad.

So where will these 8 million international students be coming from? China is expected to remain the top sending country, with around 1 million students forecast to study overseas in 2022. 

This is followed by India (500,000), South Korea (300,000) and Saudi Arabia (200,000).

The United States is also predicted to send a large number of students abroad – around 400,000 – making it one of the top five sending countries. 

As for where these international students will be headed, the United Kingdom continues to be a popular destination, with an estimated 300,000 international students set to study there in 2022. 

Other popular destinations include Australia (200,000), Canada (150 000), and Germany (100 000).

France and Italy are also predicted to see increases in international students studying within their borders.

Credit Mobile Students

The high cost of tuition and the increasing burden of student debt has made it difficult for many people to afford a college education.

However, there are several ways to reduce the cost of attendance and make it more affordable. One option is to take advantage of credit mobile student programs.

These programs allow you to earn college credit while still in high school. Your tuition and other college-related costs may be significantly reduced due to this.

These programs can help you jump-start your college career by allowing you to complete some coursework before you even step foot on campus.

If you are considering taking advantage of a credit mobile student program, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, not all colleges and universities offer these programs. 

Find out which schools provide them by doing some research.

Second, these programs may only be available for some majors or areas of study. 

You can decide if this is a possibility for you by doing your study beforehand.

Credits earned through these programs may only transfer evenly to some colleges and universities.

Make sure you understand the transfer process before enrolling in any program to save time and money on credits that won’t be accepted at your school of choice.

Domestic Student Meaning

A domestic student is a student who attends a school within their home country. 

This can be either a primary or secondary school or a post-secondary institution such as a college or university. 

For example, a student who studies in the United States would be considered a domestic student.

The term “domestic students” can also refer to students studying abroad but still considered residents of their home country. 

For example, an American student studying in France would still be considered a domestic student in the United States.

What is Considered a Foreign Student?

There is no universal response to this query because the definition of a Foreign student varies across nations.

In general, however, Foreign students typically studies in a country other than their own. 

This can include students who are studying abroad or those who are enrolled in international schools.

International students may also be required to obtain a visa to study in another country.

What Does It Mean When It Says, “Are You an International Student?”

Are you an international student? This is a common question asked by students interested in studying abroad. 

To be considered an international student, you must meet certain criteria.

For instance, you need to have a student visa or be a citizen of a nation other than the United States.

Your course of study must take place at a school outside your home country. Studying abroad is popular for many reasons.

Some students want to experience a different culture, while others want to learn a new language. 

Still, others hope to gain an edge in the competitive global workforce. Whatever your reason for wanting to study abroad, know that there are many resources available to help you make it happen.

Are Green Card Holders Considered International students?

The concept of an international student with a green card does not exist.

Green card holders are not subject to the same limitations as international students because they are permanent residents of the United States.

International students must obtain a student visa to study in the United States, whereas green card holders do not need a visa.


There are a few key differences between international students and  foreign students.

For one, international students must apply for and receive a student visa from studying in the United States, whereas  foreign students do not need a student visa. 

International students are typically enrolled in degree programs at accredited U.S. colleges or universities, while  foreign students may be enrolled in either degree or non-degree programs.

Finally, international students are subject to different regulations regarding their employment opportunities during and after their studies.

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