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Augustana Reports Largest Number of International Students

Augustana College today announced its largest-ever incoming class of international students. Fifty-four new students representing 20 countries and five continents will begin their studies at Augustana this fall for the 2010-11 academic year. The new students will join 25 continuing international students, for a total of 79 international students from 23 countries – nearly double the number of international students on campus during the 2009-2010 school year.

Donn Grinager, director of the International Programs Office (IPO) for Augustana, said the growth in international students is the result of multiple efforts, including a strategic investment in additional administrative and support staff, an increase in resources for marketing and outreach, relationship building with colleagues in other countries and efforts to establish a positive reputation with sponsoring agencies funded by the U.S. State Department.

“We have seen many years worth of networking start to pay off,” Grinager said.

This fall, international students will make up roughly 4.5 percent of the student body at Augustana – a number Grinager would like to see grow. To help recruit more international students, Grinager and Ben Iverson, associate director of International Programs, will travel to Latin America, the Middle East, Northern Europe, Africa, and Asia, and visit sponsoring agencies in Washington, D.C., and New York.

Once an international student is on campus, Augustana’s student-support programs work to provide a welcoming experience. The Augustana Cultural Exchange (ACE) is a mentoring program developed by the IPO that matches American students (most of who have returned from a study abroad experience) with a small group of international students. The American student mentors serve as small-group leaders and facilitators to address questions, help new students find connections with other people and organize fun activities throughout the year on campus and in Sioux Falls.

The Rendezvous is a weekly social gathering at 3 p.m. each Friday at the Huddle. At the Rendezvous, American and international students can gather for coffee or soda, listen to a weekly presentation by a student from another country, and make plans for the weekend. Staff from the IPO will attend each Rendezvous to provide important information and updates and answer any questions or issues that arise throughout the year.

“We hope that American students, faculty and staff will join us for the presentations,” Iverson said. “It’s a great way to show support for our international students and a fun way to learn about the 20-plus countries represented on campus.”

Countries represented at Augustana during the 2010-2011 school year will include: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Bulgaria, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Burma, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Canada.