By Jill Kacere
In the past year, The University of Iowa has surpassed the national averages in the amount of international students on campus and of domestic students studying abroad. The UI International Student & Scholar Services and the UI Office for Study Abroad, in conjunction with the Open Doors Report, have released data on the percentages of international student enrollment and students studying abroad.
In the 2009-2010 academic year, the number of international students studying in American universities and colleges increased by 3 percent from the previous academic year. The international student enrollment at The University of Iowa, however, has increased by 9 percent with a total enrollment of 2,589 international undergraduate and graduate students.
This growth in international students has mainly been driven by an increase in Chinese student enrollment. China is the leading country sending students to the United States. Last year the number of Chinese international students in the U.S. increased by 30%.
The UI’s increased international student enrollment has resulted from recruiting efforts by UI International Programs, the Office of Admissions and English as a Second Language Program. The University has particularly focused on East and Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East and Latin America in its recruiting campaign, and is seeing strong interest from all of those areas.
The UI has made it a priority to keep students studying abroad because of the high interest and the correlation between studying abroad and student success.
In regards to study abroad, the UI has also surpassed the national average of participation. In the 2008-2009 academic year, the national amount of students studying abroad slightly decreased by 0.8 percent from the previous academic year, whereas UI participation increased by 5.3 percent. In 2008-2009, 1,283 UI students representing 60 different majors studied abroad in 60 different countries.
The national decrease likely stems from the economic downturn, but the UI has made it a priority to keep students studying abroad because of the high interest and the correlation between studying abroad and student success.
An increase in international students and study abroad participation encourages awareness of different cultures. The UI’s increased number of international student enrollment and study abroad participation demonstrates the university’s commitment in promoting tolerance of cultural differences.
Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of UI International Programs has said, “Globalization involves sharing ideas, learning from differences and making life-long connections; and having students from over 100 countries around the world here on our campus is a part of that effort.”