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    Boston’s college students: coming and going

    Which countries send students to Boston, and where US students go.

    Was that a conversation in Urdu you overheard at Market Basket? German or plattdeutsch on the T near Kendall Square? Between 2008 and 2012, 53,486 students from around the world came to the Boston area to study, spending $1.7 billion on tuition and more than $900 million on living costs. By contrast, the state exports less than half that number — fewer than 3 percent of its student population — to study overseas each year. Here’s more:


    1. Boston University

    2. Harvard


    3. MIT

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    4. Northeastern

    5. Suffolk University


    Number of US students abroad who are women

    65.3 per 1,000

    Number of foreign students among all Boston-area students

    Where US students go ...

    Level of degree pursued by foreign students at Boston-area schools from 2008 to 2012:

    Olivia Hall/Globe Staff



    Percentage enrolled in STEM studies


    Percentage of foreign graduates who stayed to work in the metropolitan area


    Number of Massachusetts post-secondary students who studied abroad in academic year 2009-10 (out of a total 497,290 in the state)

    Worldwide, the top 10 countries of origin for students away from their home countries:

    Map Icons by

    Top five US metropolitan areas attracting foreign students:

    SOURCES: Brookings Institution, Institute of International Education, NAFSA, UNESCO; Map icons by; cities by istockphoto