Published: Nov. 11, 2013

Top 10 for international student enrollment and study abroad

Contact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709, Peter Briggs Office for International Students and Scholars office: (517) 353-1720, Brett Berquist Office of Study Abroad office: (517) 432-4346

Michigan State University ranks in the top 10 for international student enrollment and study abroad participation, according to the Institute of International Education’s annual Open Doors Report released Nov. 11.

MSU ranks ninth in the nation for the number of enrolled international students, according to the report. In 2012-13, MSU hosted 6,759 international students on its campus.

“Michigan State prepares graduates who can compete anywhere in the world and has long recognized that international study and engagement should be part of the student experience,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “That becomes truer every day in this increasingly interconnected world.”

MSU earned the No. 4 slot for study abroad participation with 2,380 MSU students studying overseas in 2011-12. It has one of the largest catalogs of international learning opportunities, offering more than 275 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries on all continents.

“As our program portfolio evolves each year, we strive to ensure programming connects to larger university academic goals and helps prepare global citizens through opportunities to engage and learn within local communities abroad,” said Brett Berquist, director of MSU’s Office of Study Abroad.

Nationally, international student enrollment rose 7 percent to a record high of 819,644 students, according to the report. MSU’s international student enrollment increased 1 percent from last year. The rise in international student enrollment is the result of an increase in Chinese undergraduate students, said Peter Briggs, director of MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars.

The other top countries of origin for international students in 2012-13 were India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, according to Open Doors. Most international students studied business, followed by engineering and math and computer science.

“This is the new way of the world,” Briggs said. “With such global diversity coming to our community, we have the privilege of building international friendships while greatly expanding our cultural opportunities.”

To help universities and colleges prepare for the influx of Chinese students, MSU has co-produced a documentary about U.S.-China cultural exchange, hoping to inspire national conversation about the importance of intercultural communication.

MSU partnered with Crossing Borders Films, a film production company affiliated with the nonprofit U.K. organization Crossing Borders Education, to create a 70-minute documentary, “The Dialogue.” The film follows four American students – including an MSU graduate – and four Chinese students as they travel through Hong Kong and Southwest China. Along the way, they undergo culture shock, frustration and fear, but also learn to appreciate and understand their diversity.

“There is a critical need for a new generation of individuals and future leaders who understand these cross-national challenges and have the capabilities, commitment and grit to address them,” said Dawn Pysarchik, project coordinator and professor of advertising and public relations. “Through the medium of film, we’re contributing to the development of a globally competent network of students and employees.”

MSU will screen the film at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Kellogg Center Auditorium. Because the film will be shown at international film festivals, the public release of “The Dialogue” is scheduled for January 2014. However, MSU has coordinated screenings at nearly 200 universities, colleges and high schools around the country, in China and in Canada as part of International Education Week activities.

Also as part of International Education Week, MSU will host its annual Global Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 17 at Brody Hall, featuring games, exhibits, food and other cultural entertainment. In addition, MSU will host a Learning Abroad Conference from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 15 at the International Center, during which students will present their study abroad experiences.

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