BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Approximately 150 prospective students attended the US Embassy’s postgraduate education fair held at the Radisson Hotel on Thursday, indicating a growing interest in higher education in the United States.

While the UK has traditionally been the top destination for Bruneian students, the US embassy said it has seen an encouraging number of applicants in recent years.

For the academic year of 2015/16, 102 US student visas were issued to Bruneians, and 96 were issued for 2016/17. Meanwhile for the 2017/18 academic year, 70 visas have been issued so far.

The embassy’s public affairs officer, Daniel Lee, said the United States welcomed more than one million international students in 2017.

“International students now make up 5.3 per cent of all higher education in the United States,” he said at the fair, dubbed ‘Let’s Go America’.

“Education is key to building a stronger and more competitive workforce, as well as providing employers with highly skilled and well-prepared employees.”

Lee added that one of the strengths of a US education is that international students with F-1 visa status, and who have completed at least one year of full-time study, can participate in optional practical training.

This programme allows a student to work for 12 months in a US-based job related to his/her field of study. Students who earn degrees in STEM fields can work for up to 24 months.

Bruneians who are interested in furthering their studies in America can contact the embassy to attend a free advisory session, held every Friday at the public library in Bandar Seri Begawan.