Universities see increase in international students - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Universities see increase in international students

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - More UW-Eau Claire students are getting a worldly education without ever leaving campus.

"The international student population has grown pretty significantly in the United States and Wisconsin in the last few years," said Director of the Center for International Eau Claire, Karl Markgraf.

UW-Eau Claire currently enrolls 265 international students from 39 countries. That's nearly double the number from just five years ago.

"It was a very strategic decision. So the university set a goal in 2009 of increasing the international student population."

One goal was to increase the multicultural opportunities for all students. The university has been recruiting students from parts of the world that had not been represented on campus before.

"It's created a very diverse campus," said international student Cassandra Lee "Even though we are from an international culture it's even better to see other diverse cultures outside of my own."

It's not just a cultural impact that international students bring but also an economic impact.

"There's a nearly 7 million dollar impact just in the city of Eau Claire alone with our international student population," said Markgraf.

But students and leaders agree the biggest impact is the cultural one.

"One of the most important things is to be involved in the community," said international student Carlos Gorina "You don't want to be in your dorm, talking to your family 24/7. You want to be out there meeting new people and new cultures and sharing your culture, that's the most important thing."

UW-Eau Claire tells us the international recruiting focus is not slowing down.  It hopes to reach 300 students by next fall.

UW-Stout's international student population has also nearly doubled in the last five years.

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