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American Universities Catering to International Students

Many young adults around the world dream of attending a college or university in the U.S. The Education Insider looks at some of the ways that postsecondary institutions across America are catering to international students.

By Erin Tigro

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About International Students in the U.S.

International students help drive the American economy and, according to a recent article by USA Today, generate billions of dollars in tuition, fees and living expenses. According to the non-profit Institute of International Education, from 2009-2010, the U.S. had a total international student population of nearly 691,000. This accounted for a slight increase from the previous year. Most international students in United States come from China, India and South Korea and often flock to California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Methods Colleges Are Using to Cater to Global Learners

Pathways Programs

One of the newest ways that American colleges and universities are catering to international students is through what is being referred to as 'pathways programs.' These modules, which typically run the equivalent of one academic year, focus on providing English language support to non-native speakers while at the same time allowing them to complete basic first-year courses. Depending on a student's intended major, he or she can typically choose from one of four tracks, including general education (social science and humanities), science and natural resources, engineering or business. Some colleges have implemented such programs in house while others have partnered with private curriculum development organizations, such as IntoUniversity, Kaplan, Navitas or Study Group.

Offices for International Students and Scholars

Most schools have an on-campus office designed to help foreign learners adjust to American college life and their new surroundings. These offices may have advisors who can assist with immigration issues. They may also offer special programs designed to pair an international student with an American student-mentor. Schools, such as Brown University and Texas A&M University, offer programs through which local families invite international scholars to dinner, parties or get-togethers. The goal is to help these students acclimate, socialize and make connections that can make them feel more at home throughout their stay in the U.S.

On-Campus International Organizations

In an effort to perpetuate cultural diversity on campus, many higher education institutions house departments or organizations with focuses on a particular ethnicity, such as African, Asian, Indian or Hispanic. Depending on the student's cultural background, he or she may be able to find a relevant group to join. Through such organizations, international students may be able to establish friendships that can make the transition to U.S. life easier. They may find peers who speak their own language and celebrate similar holidays and traditions. These groups may also sponsor special cultural festivals that international students can help organize or attend.

Continue reading for information about international student recruiting.

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