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Archive for the ‘Int'l Education Week’ Category

International students and their families contributed more than $21.8 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2011–2012 academic year, according to a new NAFSA report released yesterday. California, New York, and Texas welcomed the largest numbers of international students, and those and other states across the country saw substantial benefits from spending by these students and their families on living expenses, tuition, and fees.

The compelling, real-life stories about the positive impact international students make on our campuses and communities often come from the experiences of international educators who work with them every day. Today we have a post about international students in Pennsylvania from Jennifer Figueroa, director of International Student Services for Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. If you would like to share your own story, visit the Share Your Story page on Connecting Our World.

Bicycling to Sustainability
By: Jennifer Figueroa

Somehow, I am lucky enough to have a really unique job. I work in higher education, specifically with students that come to study in the United States from all over the world. I travel vicariously through them, and occasionally travel for real when the opportunity presents itself. I’ve mentored, supported, and advised students from far-flung places, nations, and cultures including the Ukraine, Brazil, Rwanda, Honduras, China, Nepal, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Macedonia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, Madagascar, Yemen, and Tibet. What is the best part of it all? Getting to know them as individuals and seeing the influence they bring to our campus. Each student brings a vibrant and unique perspective to campus, lending new ideas and concepts to classroom discussions and enriching campus programs through cultural experiences.

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In the final installment of this week’s series featuring real-life stories about the positive impact of foreign students on state economies and communities around the country (see our posts on the Midwest,  Northeast, and South), we go out West. Foreign students spent $4.7 billion during the 2010-2011 academic year across the western states, according to NAFSA’s Economic Impact Statements released Monday. Overall, foreign students and their dependents contributed $20.2 billion to the U.S. economy in the same time period.

See how each western state benefited in this chart and keep reading for insight into how NAFSA member Bob Ericksen leads efforts to engage international students at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). Learn more about how you can be an advocate during International Education Week at Connecting Our World.

Making Global Connections a Reality

By Bob EricksenBob Ericksen
“Global” and “international” are not slogans at UCLA; they are concepts which are fully integrated into our daily lives.

The Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars is where it all comes together. As director of the Center, I have the privilege of overseeing how our team works passionately and enthusiastically to enhance the UCLA experience for international students and scholars with programs and services; assist academic departments with employment-based visa services; and serve as a resource and learning center for the entire UCLA community to promote global connections, international understanding, and cultural sensitivity.

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In the third installment of this week’s series featuring real-life stories about the positive impact of foreign students on state economies and communities around the country (see our posts on the Midwest and the Northeast), we turn to the South. Foreign students spent $5.2 billion during the 2010-2011 academic year across the southern states, according to NAFSA’s Economic Impact Statements released Monday. Overall, foreign students and their dependents contributed $20.2 billion to the U.S. economy in the same time period.

See how each southern state benefited in this chart and keep reading for a first-hand account of how NAFSA member and associate director of international student services at Clayton State University, Brett Reichert, welcomes international students to Morrow, Georgia, and advocates for all students to get the education they need to be prepared for a career in our globalized economy. Learn more about how you can be an advocate during International Education Week at Connecting Our World.

When Globalization Travels Through Your Backyard

By Brett Reichert
Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, is located in Atlanta’s “Southern Crescent,” which alludes to the agrarian, “main street” towns of yesteryear. They were connected more with the State Farmers Market nearby than with the world outside. In 1968, Clayton Junior College, as it was called then, opened to serve the needs of this area.

Today, Clayton County touches one of the largest industrial distribution networks in America, and “mall sprawl” is the landscape beyond our serene, piney woods campus. Clayton State is now a comprehensive university of 7,000 students with a graduate school, residence and campus life divisions, nationally ranked athletics programs, and degree programs ranging from nursing and teacher education to MBA’s, supply chain management and archival studies. Jumbo jets, sometimes 4 or 5 in number, are visible floating overhead near the world’s busiest airport just 10 miles away.

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We now turn to the Northeast states, as we continue our series this week examining the impact of foreign students on local economies and highlighting real-life stories about their presence on campuses and communities around the country. In the Northeast, foreign students spent more than $5.8 billion during the 2010-2011 academic year, according to NAFSA’s Economic Impact Statements released Monday. Overall, foreign students and their dependents contributed $20.2 billion to the U.S. economy in the same time period.

See how each state benefited in this chart and keep reading for an insider’s view into how international students contribute to our economy and fashion from Erika Rohrbach, an international student advisor and NAFSA member at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City.

Creative International Students Succeeding in Fashion and Business

By Erika Rohrbach
I’m not a numbers person. I suspect I would fail statistics miserably if such a course were forced upon me. But I must confess, when I hear how many international students are in the United States and how much they contribute to our economy, I get a little giddy. 723,277 students; over $20 billion: those are big numbers. These kinds of figures make it easier to open conversations about the value of international education with relative strangers who can translate their meaning into the universal languages of commerce and politics much more easily than I can.

But I’m not in this profession for the numbers. I’m in it for the people. For the students who walk into my tiny, windowless office in this city that hosts the most international students in the country. For my colleagues in academia as well as in government, who share and appreciate the privilege of interacting with those from other cultures as individuals. We are a lucky bunch. We needn’t turn on the television or set foot outside our doorways to encounter the world.

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Despite these tough economic times, foreign students are continuing to make significant economic contributions to local and state economies. In the Midwestern states, that impact has been clear – foreign students and their dependents spent $4.5 billion during the 2010 – 2011 academic year across the region, according to NAFSA’s Economic Impact Statements released today. See how each state of the region benefited in this chart, and keep reading for a first-hand account of the many other important contributions foreign students are making in one of the Midwestern states.

The compelling, real-life stories about the positive impact foreign students make on our campuses and communities often come from the experiences of international educators who work with them every day. This week, NAFSA will be featuring their stories from around the country. Today we have a post about international students in Kansas from Emily Lee, assistant director in the International Student and Scholar Services office at the University of Kansas. If you would like to share your own story, visit the Share Your Story page on Connecting Our World, and be on the lookout for more state-level data and personal stories on the NAFSA blog throughout the week.

Student Friendships in Kansas

By Emily Lee
My personal story of discovering international education often begins with me remembering being able to count to fifteen in Spanish while in elementary school. I thought that was quite an accomplishment, but it was not until I went abroad in high school that the impact of how little I really knew about the world and my inability to truly speak another language hit me. It was humbling to meet so many others who spoke multiple languages and seemed to know more about my country than I did. Like many others, that “aha” moment led me to study abroad and travel, and it influenced my career choice. I am now able to see our international students and witness their “aha” moments and the melting of barriers between them and the local community.  One of the most inspiring events I see each semester is when we hold a panel discussion featuring current international students during which they speak to our incoming students during orientation about the challenges they have overcome and friendships they have made. It is hard to deny the benefits of international education during those sessions.

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Today kicks off the 12th annual International Education Week (IEW), a special week for NAFSA and our international education community.

New Data on Foreign Students
One of the ways we’re celebrating is with today’s release of our annual Economic Impact Statements. The data reveal that international students and their dependents contributed an impressive $20.2 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2010-2011 academic year. This is nearly a $1.5 billion increase from the previous year.

But of course, we know that the contributions foreign students make go well beyond the numbers – as they get to know the real America, and we get to know them, their new and different global perspectives enrich our classrooms, their talent brings educational benefits to our own students, and our local communities get a unique glimpse of the wider world every day. Keep an eye on the blog this week to hear personal stories from NAFSA members across the country about how foreign students contribute to their individual states. Our first stop is the Midwest.

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In these tough economic times, foreign students and their dependents continue to make an important economic contribution to communities and campuses across the United States. NAFSA’s new report of economic impact shows that college students from other countries contributed $18.8 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2009-2010 academic year through tuition, fees, and living expenses for themselves and their families. This is a $1 billion increase from the previous academic year.

As international educators know, they also bring much more to our communities and campuses. A recent article in the Southeast Missourian highlights why foreign students matter to one college in the Midwest, where they bring $4 billion to the region. Gerald McDougall, dean of the Donald L. Harrison College of Business and international programs at Southeast Missouri State University told the newspaper:
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International Education WeekAs we approach International Education Week 2010 (November 15-19), how are you and your state celebrating?

Since 2000, the U.S. Departments of Education and State have jointly hosted International Education Week each year to celebrate the importance and impact of international education and exchange. Colleges and universities around the world will coordinate events and activities that showcase how international education connects people across borders, builds cross-cultural understanding, prepares students with global skills, and ultimately creates the foundation for a more peaceful world.

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