In Southeast Asian countries, around 40 percent of students interested in studying overseas said they would likely cross the U.S. off their list if Donald Trump became president, revealed a recent study.

In a survey involving more than 40,000 students from 118 countries, 60 percent reported that they would be less likely to choose the U.S. as a study destination if Trump, the Republican candidate, were elected as president in November.

Conversely, only 4 percent of respondents said they would probably not study in the U.S. if Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, won the election.


The survey was carried out by FPP Edu Media, a Brazil-based study fair organizer, and Intead, a student recruitment specialist firm based in the U.S.

CEO of Intead, Ben Waxman, told The PIE News that the figures should not be taken face value, but maintained that an impact would still be felt.

“I have no illusions that 60 percent would really not come if Donald Trump were elected president; it won’t be that dramatic,” he said.

“But even if a sliver of that – if 10 percent say, ‘You know what, that’s not where I want to be’, that’s huge.”

The study calculated that a Trump presidency could cost the U.S. up to US$4.75 billion in economic contributions from international students, based on the IIE Open Door calculation that estimates each international student’s contribution to the country’s economy comes up to an average of US$31,000.


Southeast Asian students were not as strong in their disdain of Trump compared to other regions, such as Central and South America.

While most countries in the region had up to 40 percent of students saying they would be put off from studying in the U.S. if Trump won, Thai students were more tolerant, as only 25 percent said they would study elsewhere.

Malaysia turned out to have the most students in the region who did not support Clinton, with 8 percent saying they would be discouraged from studying in the U.S. if she was elected president.

When it comes to the competitive world of international student recruitment, Waxman said if Trump won, the U.S.’s loss would be huge gain to its competitors.

“If Donald Trump is elected, the U.K., Canada, Australia all win big time, because if they’re studying abroad, the Southeast Asian students will go to Australia, and the Mexicans and the U.K. students will go to Canada or the U.K.,” he said.

Main image via Associated Press

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