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UWRF will see decrease in international students next year

May 6, 2015

While the number of international students has more than doubled in the past five years, UW-River Falls may soon see a decrease, according to data compiled by the UWRF Office of Institutional Research.

Only 57 international students were enrolled during the 2010-2011 academic year, with a steady increase leading up to a total of 275 enrolled during the 2014-2015 academic year, according to the data.

This increase is due to a partnership between the university and the Institute of International Education. Through the Institute’s Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program, there has been a significant increase of enrolled international students from Brazil that make up the largest number of international students on campus, according to Katrina Larsen, interim assistant vice chancellor for international education.

However, Larsen said, because of changes being made in Brazil, there will be fewer students able to travel abroad, which will cause a decrease of the number of international students on campus.

“We may have a little dip with the Brazilians going down, but we’re working hard to kind of fill that with a different variety of students,” Larsen said.

Gabriela Nogueira is a junior food science student who is also an international student from Brazil who believes that studying abroad is very important.

“It’s important because we are out of our zone of comfort, and you have to be far from your family, your friends, your boyfriend,” Nogueira said. “It’s difficult, but it’s nice and we can learn a lot. It’s a good exercise for the mind.”

Larsen said that the university is working hard to partner with other countries through the Institute of International Education, as well as other programs in order to maintain the increase of international students on campus. Global Connections is currently looking at partnerships with countries including Cuba, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, China, Mexico, Turkey and Kazakhstan.

Larsen also stated that UWRF has a strategic goal concerning global education and engagement, one of the three main goals of the university.

“By increasing the amount of students that come in to River Falls from abroad, we as a university learn so much more,” Larsen said. “They enrich our campus and they know more about the U.S. when they go home.”

Although there will be a decrease of international students enrolling at UWRF due to the changes in Brazil, Larsen said that she is confident that over time the increasing number of enrolled international students that has grown over the past five years will be sustainable through the pursuit of partnership with other countries and broadening the university’s reach in the world.