Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

International student enrollment increases


Augustana has increased international student enrollment this year with 63 international students, compared to 20 last year.
There are 39 new international students from 24 different countries including Nepal, Serbia, Kenya and Japan.
In the past nine years, the highest number of international students at Augustana was 44 students from 20 countries in the 2010-2011 academic year.
Director of International Recruitment Liz Nino was hired this year to recruit more international students. Nino toured Puerto Rico, several Asian countries and Europe this year, visiting five to six schools a day.
“This year’s recruitment efforts were based on applications that we had received,” said Nino.
To maintain Augustana’s Swedish heritage, the college partners with the Swedish American Foundation, usually offering two scholarship awards to Swedish students looking to study abroad. This year, there were five scholarship recipients, which also added to the increase in international students.
FIrst-year and Swedish international students Issac Zia and Alex Sjolin Falk said their decision to come to Augustana was financially based. They will return back to universities in Sweden at the end of this year.
“It’s more of an experience here than a graduation degree,” said Zia on his decision to only stay at Augustana for one year.
International students who stay for one year are called non-degree students, while students staying four years are called degree-seeking students. Augustana also offers exchange and partnership programs.
“The great thing about Augustana is the diversity in the international students,” said Nino. “Here at Augustana, if you look at our international population, you’ll see people from all across the world, which is really great because the same as our domestic students, we want different interests, different hobbies, different points of view.”
Nino said international students choose Augustana based on financial assistance and word of mouth, but also the liberal arts education. Most colleges outside the U.S. do not offer a liberal arts education.
“You can imagine being a high school-er and being a little bit nervous committing to anything because you don’t know what you want to do,” said Nino. “A liberal arts curriculum really allows you to explore different areas of interest to become a critical thinker, a well-rounded person, and I think students want that.”
Falk agrees that the small liberal arts education has helped her academically.
“I like that the classes are, it’s so few people,” said Falk. “It’s not like huge lectures where you don’t know the teacher and the teacher doesn’t know you.”
“The culture is just different, and it’s awesome to learn it,” said Zia.
Next year, Zia will study medicine at Lund University and Falk will study political science at Uppsala University in Sweden.
More internship opportunities are available for international students than may be offered in their home countries, which draws a higher attendance to Augustana, Nino said.
“They get really excited about internships, study abroad opportunities, all those things that wouldn’t be possible if you didn’t have the opportunity to explore outside your major,” Nino said.
Augustana will continue to maintain Swedish and Dutch partnerships to recruit Swedish students, although Nino said the most applications the college receives are from Vietnamese students.
Next year, the international recruitment process will be similar to this past year, but Nino will look at what international students are most interested in.
“Next year what we’ll look at is where are we getting the most interest.”

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International student enrollment increases