International students are studying at American colleges and universities at a higher rate than ever before. With the increasing globalization of the world, international students have a profound impact on colleges and universities across the globe. They help shape culture and curriculum while providing a unique perspective that benefits everyone in the classroom.
Benefits of International Students in the Classroom
International students help bring about tremendous change in the classroom. They help serve as a walking example of their culture, often directly influencing their peers. This helps other students understand different cultures and communities. Students who work with others in different cultures learn about their government, business and other societal structures. Engagement between students of different cultures helps establish the foundation for future cooperation outside the classroom.
Many employers today are looking for individuals who have cross-cultural competence. Many industries now sell to international clients across the globe and want to put people in a position of trust who can model these core competencies. Increasingly, employers have people from diverse backgrounds working together on collaborative projects. Many future professionals will need to function effectively in a multinational team, so it is important that students learn as soon as possible to work in a way that considers cultural implications.
Having international students in the classroom often allows for a cross-cultural experience. Native and foreign students benefit by working together in a new environment. Students with an American upbringing are exposed to new ideas, which often inspires heated and engaging debate in the classroom as students passionately express their differing views.
An important aspect of international students that should not be ignored is the financial backing that comes with them. Approximately 20 percent of international students receive funding from their respective American institution. Some students receive funding from the college or government in their native country. However, the vast majority of international students use family money to fund their American educations. International students contribute $30 billion annually to the United States economy. Many wealthy Chinese students are able to have their families fund their entire tuition and other fees upfront, an attractive trait for many colleges and universities.
International Student Diversity
International students come from diverse locales. Approximately one-third of international students in America are from China. Another 25 percent of students collectively come from South Korea, India and Saudi Arabia. Students from Canada and Brazil also make up a significant number of international students.
Marketing to International Students
International students are a very attractive option for universities, as explained above. Additionally, international students often pay a much higher tuition rate than in-state students, which provides additional funding for the college or university and all of its students. Like many college students, international students often consult with their parents regarding where to attend college. This may be even more prevalent in certain cultures. Due to these factors, it is important that all marketing materials take into consideration this perspective.
Many international students have limited English proficiency because they grew up learning a different language. Even if they took English as a second language classes, their English may not be as dominant as their first language. Likewise, the parents of many international students often do not speak English, so it is important that marketing materials be provided in multiple languages. Having marketing materials in the native tongue of prospective students and their families can provide a tremendous edge to the university when it can directly get its message across to the decision maker in the family. Using professional translation services can ensure that families have the information they need to make an informed decision about the international student’s choice of school.