By Mariela Tanchez
International Education Week takes place from Nov. 14th to Nov. 18th. With this in mind, we need to remind ourselves about the presence of these unique scholars on campus. Students from other countries have become a growing trend in the past years in the U.S. According to the Institute of International Education, the number of these students went up by 10 percent in November of 2015. At SMU, we have noticed a 59 increase increase from 2012 to 2016.
An international student is defined as a person who has moved to a different country with the sole purpose of studying. In the U.S. specifically, they must undergo a process similar to obtaining a travel visa. This includes such things as: proving to have the necessary funds, attending an interview at their local embassy and complying with specific rules and regulations during their stay.
Benefits of International Students on Campus
According to Shashank Aggarwal, International Senator at SMU Student Senate, international students provide diversity. Aggarwal says: “SMU has international students from around 100 countries who have brought their own culture and values. This helps SMU to be a diverse and multi-cultural university where we celebrate a huge number of traditions from across the world.”
Also, according to the International Students and Scholar Services Office (ISSS), SMU has implemented some programs and events as a result of the presence of international students. For example, graduate extensive orientations (similar to AARO) started taking place with the international students in mind. But now, it has extended to serve all graduate students.
A couple of international students are contributing with trophies and awards for SMU. Charlotte-Tara Murphy, from the U.K., won the 2016 Gerald Richey Invitational as part of the SMU Track and Field team. From the same team, New Zealander Anneke Grogan finished in the top-10 in both the 3000m and 5000m at the American Athletic Conference Championship of 2016. Slovenian Ziga Cerkovnik, from the men´s swimming and diving team, was a two times champion at the American Conference Championships this year.
There are many ways in which international students can get involved on campus with traditional students and vice versa, including clubs and organizations that host events in which students mingle together such as the International Student Fellowship. These can be found on the SMU orgs page. Also, the ISSS plans events every month with international students in mind, but all students are welcome to join. In addition, students can drop by the ISSS office, visit their Facebook page to stay informed about upcoming events and opportunities.