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SU celebrates International Education Week Nov. 15-23
SU celebrates International Education Week Nov. 15-23November 14, 2003Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Syracuse University and the Lillian and Emanuel Slutzker Center for International Services are hosting a weeklong series of activities and events as part of International Education Week (IEW), Nov. 15-23. IEW is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, and promotes activities that prepare Americans for a global environment, including international students studying on U.S. campuses, study abroad programs for U.S. students, and the overseas exchange of faculty.
At SU, IEW programs are sponsored by the Slutzker Center, the Center for Career Services, the Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA) and the English Language Institute. Events at SU began Nov. 15 and conclude Nov. 23 with the 24th Annual International Thanksgiving Celebration.
Coinciding with IEW each year is the release of the “Open Doors” report by the Institute of International Education (IIE), which provides annual figures and trends on international student enrollment at American college campuses, and the number of American students studying abroad. These statistics include studies at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
According to “Open Doors 2003,” after five years of steady growth, the number of international students attending colleges and universities in the United States showed only a slight increase of less than 1 percent over the prior year, bringing the 2002-03 total to 586,323. New York State hosted 63,773 international students, which is an increase of 2.8 percent from last year.
SU hosted 2,157 foreign students in 2002-03, up from 2,132 the previous year, a percentage increase roughly equivalent to the national average.
India remains the leading country of origin for international students in the United States. This is true at SU, with more than one third of the 603 new international students arriving this fall coming from India. Statewide, India ranks behind the Republic of Korea and China as the third-leading country of origin.
Academic programs in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs enroll the most international students on campus. Nationwide, the most popular fields of study for international students are business/management, followed by engineering. In New York, business/management tops the list, followed by fine and applied arts.
Patricia A. Burak, director of the Slutzker Center for International Services, points to a number of factors that contribute to the slower than normal growth in international student enrollment, including tighter student visa restrictions. But more notably, Burak said the dampened economies of the United States and international regions are making foreign study in the U.S. more difficult.
Burak notes that IEW is an important time to recognize the need to keep international education at the forefront of the higher education agenda. But, she also points out that providing the University community with programs and cultural activities throughout the year is what her office focuses on. “It makes sense to promote IEW here at SU and nationwide, but the week is really only a snapshot of what goes on all year long.”
An example of these programs is the English Conversational Groups the Slutzker Center hosts, where international students come to meet in small groups with a volunteer leader who helps them better understand the language, with casual conversation about the American social and language nuances that are otherwise not explained. The Slutzker Center also hosts training opportunities for faculty and staff to provide a better understanding of international student and scholar issues.
“It’s not just about offering programs for our international students,” said Burak. “It’s creating a center that has an ambiance of a home away from home.” The Slutzker Center welcomes an average 300-400 visitors each week and about 25,000 people each academic year.
For more information on the Slutzker Center, call 443-2457.