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ACU Home > Major Events > News > 2002 News Archive > International Education Week

ACU international education sees response to Sept. 11, world events

For immediate release
Nov. 18, 2002

The Institute for International Education kicks off International Education Week Nov. 18 with the release of 2002 Open Doors study results, focusing on the state of international education.

The study results include the number of international students studying in the United States in 2001-02, breakdowns by regions and schools, which countries are the most represented, and more. The results of an online survey address how international education has been affected by Sept. 11 and other world events.

Nationally, the study shows that India is now the largest exporter of foreign students to the U.S. At ACU, however, Japan and Nigeria top the list of foreign student exporters, and a large percentage of ACU's international students hail from the continent of Africa.

Because the IIE study results were submitted by schools in October and November of 2001, they may reflect the immediate fallout from Sept. 11, but the results do not yet reflect any difficulties faced by students trying to get visas for this school year.

At ACU, however, the numbers are already in for this year and show a slight decrease in international enrollment this year in the wake of Sept. 11, said Kevin Kehl associate director of the Center for International and Intercultural Education. However, much of that decrease may be simply a delayed enrollment because of new visa procedures.

"Anecdotally, it seems that it was not because more visas were denied but because of the time it took many students to get visas," Kehl said. "Some students waited until July or August to apply for a visa, then they weren't granted an interview until mid September, and by then it was too late to enroll for the fall semester."

Increased immigration concerns may have played a role as well. "A lot of the visas are issued in terms of complying with student status in countries like Nigeria and Kenya. The state department is aware of countries where people go off to school and don?t come back," Kehl said. "Basically, students must prove that they will not immigrate to the United States after they finish school."

In the near future, new INS regulations will be a challenge for both students and higher education institutions. Any school wishing to admit international students must comply with INS regulations by Jan. 30, Kehl said. The process includes an on-site visit and a system for tracking students and their locations, plus reporting students who applied but never enrolled.

"The INS really raised the stakes and put the accountability on institutions to report where their students are at all times and any change in their status," Kehl said.

ACU students considering studying in other countries may have been influenced by Sept. 11 and other world events as well. Some of the semester-long study abroad trips have suffered, Kehl said, but opportunities are increasing through shorter trips.

"We have felt the effects of Sept. 11 in its impact on Study Abroad. Before Sept. 11, we had wait lists for our trips. Afterward, people didn?t exactly run to cancel their trips, but slowly, the number dwindled," Kehl said. "They are still popular though. The 2002 spring semester program in Oxford was almost right at capacity, but I just wonder about the potential of war in Iraq, and what part that's playing in students' decisions."

In response to students' apparent caution about long-term trips, ACU has increased the availability and locations of short-term trips, Kehl said. For the first time, there will be three seven- to 10-day trips during the Christmas break, two more than in past years. One program in Oxford will focus on music; another program in Oxford will study the life and writings of C.S. Lewis, and one will focus on art in Montevideo, Uruguay. In addition, during Summer I, students can choose from trips to Oxford, Greece, Mexico and Montevideo, Uruguay. A Maymester trip will visit Prague, Poland and the Czech Republic, and another group will visit Oxford in Summer II.

"It's more pragmatic in terms of getting students to go. We?re having to be creative," Kehl said.

Another noteworthy trend in international education at ACU, is the growing number of international faculty at ACU. Currently, two of ACU's faculty members are citizens of another country, and at least seven are natives of another country, five of whom came to ACU in the last five years. In addition, huge numbers of faculty have lived abroad for some period of time, said Dr. Tom Winter, associate provost.

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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, university news coordinator.

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