There are over 2,500 international students and scholars on the UC Davis campus this year – a number that has continued to grow since last year.
Though many are surprised by the amount of international scholars on campus, the Institute of International Education (IIE) found that since 9/11, there has actually been a slow increase of international students and scholars.
“We do some of the best research in the country, if not in the world,” said Wes Young, director of services for international students and scholars. “There is absolutely a strong draw to come here from another country.”
UC Davis hosts the fifth largest amount of scholars in the entire country, with Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley and Columbia preceding it, according to the IIE study.
Relative to the rest of the world, however, the total percentage of international students in the U.S. has decreased slightly. Where there are more students studying here, there are even more studying in places like China and Europe.
This is due to increased competition in other countries, Young said. Thirty years ago, the U.S. was the premier destination for all students. Today, other countries are improving their programs and increasing their appeal to foreign students.
“In Europe, the government gives money for students to travel to different countries [within the European Union],” said Thomas de Lamballerie, a senior sociology major from Sciences-Po, a university in Paris. “But America is one of the best places in the world to study, and the UC is very, very famous.”
Money is one of the main reasons why a lot of international students choose not to come the U.S., Young said. In addition to room and board, the University is required to charge the out-of-state tuition of $47,600 per year for undergraduates and $44,200 for graduate students.
The government also requires universities to track international students by requiring them to have visas and forbidding them to have a job outside the university, among other regulations, which may seem unwelcoming at times. But to those who have gotten past the cost and regulations, the UC Davis experience has been positive.
“In my classes, the American students come to see you and know about your country,” Lamballerie said, who has also taken advantage of Outdoor Adventures and local destinations, such as San Francisco.
The American-International student relationship, Young said, is the best way to improve the students’ personal experience here, and could in turn improve the status of the U.S. among citizens of other countries.
“In Germany, everyone is so closed and unfriendly, but here, everyone is really nice; everyone asks ‘How are you?'” said Martin Eypasch, a Mechanical Engineering scholar from Germany. “I like the weather and I like the campus a lot.”
Meeting international students and scholars, students will find, offers an interesting cultural experience within Davis, Young said.
“Not everyone can study abroad, so meeting the person next to you from Africa will give you the opportunity to learn about that country without costing you,” Young said. “That kind of thing is hard to put a value on.”
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at email@example.com