Easier visa access allows more to study in Boulder
The number of international students making their way to CU has more than tripled since last year. Now comprising 10 percent of the student body, the rise in attendance is attributed to easier access to visas.
Two years ago, international students made up five percent of the student population, said Professor Larry Bell, the director of International Education. Last year, he said, they made up only three percent.
“Some of the reasons for the numbers being down is that the visas were a big problem,” Bell said. “Students had a hard time getting a visa to come to the United States. Some of it was leftover negativity from September 11.”
Getting a visa was more of a challenge in past years due to extensive security clearances, Bell said. Currently, the Department of Security is processing security clearances quicker.
CU’s International Education Department helps quicken the process by making phone calls and writing e-mails and letters to notify the Department of Security that the international students applying to CU wish to study.
Most of the international students at CU are from India, China and South Korea, and they travel to Colorado for the academic program, Bell said.
The international students “contribute to a certain diversity for the campus, which is good,” Bell said.
Last year, a student from Nigeria played for the men’s basketball team. This year, a student from Denmark plays for the women’s basketball team. International students have also played on the tennis team. The international students contribute to the well being of the campus, Bell said.
“The international students bring more diverse ideas” to the campus, said Emily Frydendall, a junior integrative physiology major.
Frydendall also said that it is cool to have students from different countries in her classes so she can learn about different cultures.
“What (international students) bring to the classroom is a diversity of opinion,” Bell said. “They view problems differently, so when an (American) student and an international student work together, they usually bring different prospectives, which is an interesting benefit.”
International students and American students get together to discuss cultures, values and politics at the international coffee hour in the UMC on Fridays at 4 p.m.