Sep 152008
 
Authors: Cece Wildeman

In the 1890s, the first international students came to CSU.

Now, almost 120 years later, about 1,000 international students represent 90 countries. And they all have a story to tell about how they got here and where they hope to go.

For the rest of the semester, the Collegian will profile an international student from a different country each week to familiarize the student body with diverse cultures and to provide an outlet for international students to share their stories.

The international students and scholars travel from as nearby as Canada and Mexico and as far away as Saudi Arabia to study and intern at CSU. Some have been here for nearly a decade and some for only a month.

No matter how long the international students and scholars stay, they bring understanding to the CSU community and help to break down cultural stereotypes, said Jenn Christ, program coordinator in the Office of International Programs.

“It’s important to have international students because when they come here they gain a perspective and a world view that they never would have gotten if they’d never left their country,” Christ said.

American students can also gain perspective by having international students present, and some are even inspired to go abroad because of this, Christ said.

At CSU, there are two kinds of international students: scholars, who come to intern and do research, and exchange students, who come to earn a degree.

Whatever the student decides to do, the services offered by the Office of International Programs remain the same.

The office provides immigration and cross-cultural advising, programs to help the students and scholars with their transition to America, orientation services and ongoing programs and workshops throughout the year.

Although the office was established 40 years ago, CSU has a much longer history with hosting international students.

After the 1890s, the number of international students grew steadily, said Mark Hallett, director of International Student and Scholar Services.

But the real boom came after World War II when America’s involvement in the conflict earned it global prominence, recognition of its education system and healthy infrastructure, he said.

He said the continued presence of international students and scholars at CSU is important because it provides an international dynamic in the classroom.

“We attract some of the brightest students from around the world. And this helps to establish CSU as a top university,” Hallett said. “They help with important work here.”

Entertainment Editor Cece Wildeman can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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