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International students improve college

September 18, 2014

Megumi Kawase is the programming coordinator of the International Student Services located in Global Connections in Hagstead Hall.
Megumi Kawase is the programming coordinator of the International Student Services located in Global Connections in Hagstead Hall. She helps with details from official procedures, substantial paperwork, picking up incoming international students at the Minneapolis airport and overseeing and providing support in their daily lives. (Jack Haren/Student Voice)

At a time of lower domestic enrollment, an increased number of international students on campus has helped UW-River Falls increase its total enrollment for the 2014 school year.

Higher enrollment numbers at UWRF is one of the beneficial results of having a larger international student community when domestic enrollment has been down. The UW System of Student Statistics lists UWRF as decreasing enrollment by 276 students from 2013 to 2014.

The impact of international students on campus life is viewed by most as positive. With international fairs, food and entertainment, these students from other countries share their culture and create interest in traveling to other countries.

Megumi Kawase, UWRF International Student Services programming and engagement coordinator, says community and student attendance increased at these events.

“That shows that a lot of the community members and students, domestic students, here are interested in international and cultural differences,” said Kawase.

Cultural diversity on campus is helping UWRF strive for their goal of being an inclusive school. The different cultures and the many languages of the community of international students expose domestic students to global views and perspectives. Kawase originally came to UWRF as an international student herself and shows great enthusiasm for the program and the benefits to all.

“I think interaction with people who speak English as a second language is a really beneficial thing for anyone,” said Kawase.

With travel and communication made easier with technology, students today may need more international knowledge and exposure to succeed after graduation. Many corporations operate on an international level and require a workforce capable of successful interaction on a larger global landscape.

International students on campus can show domestic students a bit of the world outside American boarders. Carol Rogers, Education Abroad advisor, said she believes international students on campus create interest with the domestic students who want to learn more about the world at large.

“It’s a really significant contribution to our campus,” said Rogers.

Kawase and Rogers can both be found in Global Connections located in Hagestad Hall. Kawase has a range of duties, “from a to z,” ensuring the continued success for those in the international student community. She helps with details from official procedures, substantial paperwork, picking up incoming international students at the Minneapolis airport and overseeing and providing support in their daily lives. Kawase even eases them into winter weather reality in Wisconsin by urging incoming students to acquire appropriate outer wear.

While Kawase handles the incoming international students, Rogers handles the outgoing domestic students for UWRF Global Connections. Rogers says she believes having international students on campus creates curiosity and interest in the larger world and the result is good for all.

“We think it adds quite a nice fl avor to the university,” said Rogers. “Overall, it’s a really positive happening.”

Both Kawase and Rogers believe in the importance of the international student presence on campus.

Global Connections is available to students investigating a study abroad trip or students interested in opportunities to interact with incoming international students. Those interested can more find information at www.uwrf.edu/globalconnection