International Students on College Campuses

Our diversity blogger discusses schools with the highest percentage of international students, and how U.S.-born and international students can reach out to one another.

My school, Boston University, is known worldwide as a great destination for international students to come and study in the United States. This year, the international students make up 11% of the whole student body and come from 103 countries around the world. Some of you may be thinking “11%? That’s not that much!” But, in fact, that’s almost 1,800 international students on BU’s undergraduate campus!

BU is not the only school with a high population of international students. There are 184 colleges and universities in the United States with more than 1,000 international students. The five colleges with the highest percentages of international students in the United States, according to U.S.News & World Report for 2011-2012, are listed below and found here

  1. The New School in New York, New York – 27%
  2. Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida – 26%
  3. Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois – 21%
  4. Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida – 18%
  5. University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma – 18%

Many international students are drawn to schools with a high population of international students because they will often find common interests and may more easily adjust to the culture shock of living in America if they have a group with similar backgrounds by their side.

While many international students want to attend college in America, there are also some undeniable fears that these students face. For example, language barriers with their peers and professors, adapting to the cultural differences of the area, etc. An article on the U.S.News—Education website this past September gave some great advice for how students, especially international students, can make friends in college. The writers emphasize that it’s important for foreign students to find both international and American friends to hang out with, even if that means stepping out of their comfort zone.

International students without question will enrich the experience of all students on a college campus because international students add diversity and perspective to a student body. These students tend to start many cultural organizations and host different cultural events on campus. This gives international students a chance to show their peers just how awesome their country and culture is!

While you may be timid or fearful of meeting new people, I encourage all students to find ways to reach out to international classmates. A common interest that you will immediately have is your school or maybe even your major. I guarantee that after breaking the barrier by talking about something simple, you’ll find many other common interests! 

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About Sarah Anolik

Sarah Anolik

Sarah Anolik is a junior at Boston University, studying in the College of Communication. She is majoring in magazine journalism, minoring in psychology, and aspires to write for a magazine or newspaper someday (more specifically, ELLE magazine in New York City!). She was born and raised in Rochester, New York, but is a true Boston sports fan! Sarah is involved in BU’s school newspaper, The Daily Free Press, as a staff photographer. Additionally, she was elected to be her Greek organization’s Historian, the appointed photographer. Aside from photography, Sarah enjoys writing, shopping, and exercising.


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