Aug. 10, 2009
UI welcomes record number of international students during orientation
More than 650 new international students will arrive on the University of Iowa campus this fall, with undergraduate enrollment expected to show a significant increase from previous years, bringing the overall international population close to 2,500 students.
The students, who hail from 57 countries ranging from Australia to Zimbabwe, will be welcomed to the UI campus and local community during a series of orientation activities beginning Tuesday, Aug. 11 and lasting through early September, organized by the UI Office of International Students and Scholars.
Last year, 619 new international students came to the UI, including 304 undergraduates and 315 graduate and professional students. This fall, an estimated 400 new undergraduate international students and 250 to 300 graduate students will arrive on campus to begin classes. The number of undergraduate international students has risen notably, more than doubling since 2007.
The top areas of study pursued by UI undergraduate international students include pre-business, actuarial science, finance and economics, and the top areas pursued by UI graduate and professional students include the MBA program, chemistry, computer science, music and pharmacy.
"International students are drawn to the UI for reasons ranging from the outstanding reputation of our academic programs to the high quality of life found here in the heartland," said OISS Director Scott King. "These students contribute not only to the cultural diversity of our campus and community, but they also contribute to the economic vitality."
The UI has enhanced international recruitment effort in recent years to increase the number of UI students on campus, according to Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of UI International Programs.
Last fall, the UI reported 2,379 international students in the national census. This includes 2,191 enrolled students or 7.1 percent of all UI students, plus 188 in post graduation training programs. The UI would like to increase the number of enrolled students to 2,700 in the next two years, Thomas said.
"This is part of a deliberate effort to take Iowa to the world and to bring the world to Iowa," Thomas said. "Through their presence on and off campus, these students internationalize our community and give U. S. students an opportunity to interact with individuals from all over the world. When they return home, these students will remember us and serve as ambassadors for the U.S. abroad."
A number of orientation events are designed to ease the transition to higher education in the U.S., provide opportunities for the students to get to know their new community and to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. This is the first year OISS has separated undergraduate and graduate programs to better address the needs of both groups, King said.
"With all the transitions students have to make -- new culture, new educational expectations and often new language -- orientation helps provide students with the resources and contacts they need to be successful," King said. "Every international student admitted to UI has the background to be successful, and orientation is one of many services and programs offered to help students overcome any barriers to their academic success."
Information sessions range from how to buy and sell a car and what to do in an accident to dealing with Iowa weather, taxes, information technology and health insurance and immunization requirements, among others.
Highlights this year include:
--Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 7 to 10 p.m. - Square Dance, Old Brick. Although not open to the general public, members of the media are invited to come cover this event. Ocean Waves square dance troupe will demonstrate several dances in full costume and will teach others the skills so they can join in.
--Friday, Aug. 14, from 1 to 2 p.m. in the lobby outside of ITS on the second floor of University Capitol Centre: Brad Allison with UI Department of Public Safety will provide information on Iowa laws. There will be a drawing for a three to four-hour drive-along in a police car with an on-duty police officer.
--Friday, Aug. 21, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Hubbard Park - An IOWA Gala: OISS staff, small group leaders and others from the community will help new international students celebrate the beginning of the new semester with games, food and live music. This program brings together undergraduate and graduate international students.
--Sunday, Aug. 23, Friends of International Students (FIS) picnic in Upper City Park, 3 to 5 p.m. Shelter No. 2 in Iowa City. FIS is a community organization that provides outreach to international students by matching them with local friends. Individuals interested in becoming an FIS friend are invited.
-- Friday, Aug. 28, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. - Ice Cream Social on the UI Pentacrest Lawn: UI President Sally Mason, along with International Programs staff, will host an ice cream social featuring live music.
To view complete orientation schedules for both undergraduate and graduate international students, visit http://international.uiowa.edu/oiss/students/new/orientation.asp or call Julie Pollock at 319-335-0335 to make arrangements to interview a student or to get video, audio or photos of any orientation events.
To view the most recent available statistics on UI international student enrollment, see http://international.uiowa.edu/oiss/about/profiles.asp.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500