Augustana Reports Record Number of International Students

Augustana College today announced its largest-ever incoming class of international students. College officials anticipate more than 60 new students representing 30 countries and five continents to begin their studies at Augustana this fall for the 2011-12 academic year. The new students will join 40 continuing students, for an expected total of more than 100 international students – up nearly 32 percent from last year and more than double the number of international students on campus during the 2009-2010 academic year.

In anticipation of the students’ arrival, College officials are accepting applications from area families who wish to participate in its Host Family and/or Friendship Family Programs.

Significant Growth
As the number of international students on campus continues to grow, so does the number of domestic students who travel abroad during their college career.

Learn more about opportunities to host a international student.

Nearly 50 percent of Augustana students travel abroad during their four years on campus and, according to a recent survey of freshmen, nearly 80 percent report a desire to study internationally.

In addition to student growth, the number of faculty members leading study abroad courses is also on the rise. Twenty-two faculty members have proposed to lead 17 international courses during the upcoming academic year.

Augustana’s efforts to send domestic students out into the world, and the work it’s done to further globalize the campus by offering opportunities for international students, are gaining attention in the U.S. and around the globe. Late last year, Washington Monthly ranked the College the No. 6 baccalaureate college in the nation for its efforts to, among other things, advance social mobility.

According to Donn Grinager, director of Augustana’s International Programs Office, the idea of studying abroad is becoming more mainstream.

“Prospective students on any continent are increasingly looking not just for the best campus community, but also for a place that offers them opportunities to explore and experience the world. I think today’s college-bound students understand that now, more than ever, the world is an interconnected place. Even at 18 years old, students can understand that if they have international experience, language skills, intercultural skills and the independence and confidence to operate within the global playing field, they will be poised for leadership and success in the global economy.”

This fall, 17 of Augustana’s international students are sponsored through the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD), an initiative administered by IREX, World Learning and the American Councils on behalf of the U.S. State Department. The program provides scholarships to outstanding undergraduate students from under-represented sectors of East Asia, Eurasia and Central Asia for study, community service, internships and cultural enrichment.

“[The program] requires students to spend time in their home country applying what they’ve learned here to their home culture. In some ways, the College is meeting its civic duty by helping the U.S. with its diplomatic efforts to make the world a better, friendlier place,” said Ben Iverson, associate director of International Programs. “When we give international students a positive experience here, they’ll take that experience home with them.”

Beyond These Horizons
In anticipation of the new students’ arrival, Augustana is seeking Sioux Falls-area families who are interested in learning about new cultures, languages, traditions, faiths and global perspectives to participate in a pair of welcome programs:

  • Host Family Program
    Thirteen of the new UGRAD Program students from Russia, Moldova, Pakistan, Algeria, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Bangladesh will be arriving in Sioux Falls on Sunday, Aug. 14, several weeks prior to the start of the school year. College officials are hoping to pair each UGRAD student with a host family willing to provide room and board; transportation to the college Monday-Friday (The IPO will provide orientation and cultural programming each day, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.); and family and cultural activities during the evening and weekends from Aug. 14-28. The UGRAD students will move into their on-campus residence halls Sunday, Aug. 28. Host Families and students can choose to continue their relationship through the Friendship Family Program (description below).
  • Friendship Family Program
    The Friendship Family Program is designed to give a new student a family contact in Sioux Falls. The family does not provide lodging. Instead, the family makes a commitment to befriend a new student and to provide opportunities to have a home-cooked meal once or twice a month or to participate in various cultural or community activities throughout the year. The IPO is seeking 50 area families to participate in the Friendship Family Program, providing support to students from China, Japan, Vietnam, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Burma, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Oman, Algeria, Bangladesh, Moldova, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Armenia.

Students will be introduced to their Friendship Family at the Friendship Family kick-off event on Sunday, Sept. 11.

According to Grinager, the opportunity to host or befriend an international student allows individuals to learn about another culture without even leaving home.

“I’m really proud of the culture and traditions we have here in the Midwest. I think the history, values and traditions of the Northern Great Plains are great pieces of Americana to share with international students. While we share our culture with them, international students also share their cultures with us. The nice thing about having international students on campus, or hosting an international student in your home, is that they allow us to look beyond our own horizons. The conversations that take place in the Huddle, in classrooms and in our living rooms and kitchens allow us to compare life’s stories and experiences.”

To learn more about these programs and to request application forms, contact the International Programs Office at 605.274.5050.

Kelly Sprecher
Director of Communications & Media Relations