SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Wittenberg welcomed 33 new international students to campus last week, a diverse and interesting group that has arrived at Wittenberg from all corners of the globe, representing four continents.
Wittenberg President Mark Erickson addressed the international student reception during New Student Days, at which time he revealed his plan to double the number of international students next year. Erickson said he wants to welcome an unprecedented 64 new international students in the class of 2011.
"Raising the number of international students has clearly been a focus of the president and strategic planning," said JoAnn Bennett, director of international education.
There are numerous reasons for the increase in international students, including increased recruitment efforts, a new exchange program with Fudan University in China established during the president’s recent trip to Asia, an increase in the number of students on direct exchange and an effort to reinvigorate some older programs while establishing new agreements abroad.
The new international students are adjusting to American culture as part of a 643-person freshman class. Some international students watched in awe as families, faculty and staff members, and Orientation Assistants unpacked trailers, vans and cars on Thursday during New Student Move-In Day. In addition, Polis House, an internationally themed upperclass residence hall, opened its doors to several first-year international students as a result of the large size of this year’s incoming class.
“It’s nice for new international students to be in a dorm primarily for internationals,” said Elizabeth Schmidt, coordinator of international student services.
Of the 33 new international students, 10 are exchange students, and 17 are planning to study at Wittenberg for either one or two semesters. During a weeklong international student orientation program, the new students were welcomed into the Wittenberg community and their host family’s homes.
“The new internationals are a great group,” said Slavko Vorkapic, class of 2007, of Split, Croatia, who worked as an International Orientation Assistant. “They’re going to make amazing additions to classrooms and campus while enjoying their educational experience.”
Wittenberg’s campus has become much more diverse this year, and professors and students are excited to have the new internationals students in their classrooms.
“Having international students at Wittenberg clearly enriches the classroom experience,” Bennett said. “They bring a greater diversity in opinions and experiences.”
- Dani Nicholson '07