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Illinois State University welcomes growing number of international students

Illinois State University signed a long-term agreement with INTO University Partnerships to enhance campus diversity and increase international enrollment in late March. The first cohort of around 60 international students recruited by INTO University Partnerships arrived on the Illinois State campus to start their journey as Redbirds in August.

With the goal of increasing the international student population on campus from the current two percent of overall enrollment to 10 percent within 10 years, colleges, departments and units have been working collaboratively to welcome the new international students.

The INTO ISU Center, located on the second floor of Fell Hall, houses International Admissions and the English language program both for Academic English and Pathway programs. The Academic English Program is an expansion based on our former English Language Institute. The Pathway Program is a new addition to Illinois State’s offerings which provides both language and cultural support while international students take some selected academic courses in their majors.

The Center staff are also responsible for marketing and recruitment, providing practical and cultural support for students, ranging from airport pickup to every aspect of students’ engagement on campus and community, as well as their academic success.

An INTO ISU working group led by Stacy Ramsey, associate director of Enrollment Management, with representatives from EMAS, Admissions, Academic Technologies, Graduate School, Housing, Dining, Registrar, ISSS/OISP, Dean of Students, University College, Student Accounts, and Technology, have been working closely together, meeting weekly for over six months to create the infrastructure to support the increasing number of international students.

“Many of our international students told me they find Illinois State to be a very welcoming and caring place as soon as they arrive. As a former international student myself, I know how much this means to all of our international students,” said Yimin Wang, executive director of the INTO ISU Center.

The Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP) is now located in 106 Williams Hall. OISP’s mission is to lead the comprehensive internationalization of Illinois State to be a globally connected university.

OISP includes the Office of Education Abroad, which provides high quality international educational programs, designed to be diverse and affordable options for our students while cultivating their intellectual and social growth, as well as fostering their global citizenship.

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services and the International House are responsible for providing immigration services as well as social and cultural programming for international students and scholars. Among these programs, OISP manages the University’s International Student Orientation, International House Programming, Mentorship Adjustment Program (MAP), and the International Student Ambassador Program.

Management Development International (MDI) is an OISP unit responsible for providing specialized training and development programs to foreign nationals in a variety of professional fields, including project management, financial management, and human resource management among others.

OISP supports a number of grant opportunities for faculty and academic departments totaling over $100,000 annually. The grants include: the International Seminar Series, Internationalizing the Curriculum of a Major, Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program Development, Going Global with Your Course, and the Faculty International Travel Grant.

Additional financial support is provided to academic and administrative units to advance the University’s international agenda. Examples include financial support for the Model United Nations Conference and GoinGlobal, a comprehensive job and internship database for both domestic and international students.

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