Published: Dec. 1, 2014

Philip P. DiStefano

Going Global

When you walk around campus you can’t help but notice the many languages spoken among students. Has the campus become more international?

Our international student enrollments have grown by nearly 60 percent in four years to 2,152 degree-seeking students. The majority are undergraduates. By 2016 we anticipate that we will have 3,000 degree-seeking international students, or 10 percent of the student body. We want to bring CU to the world, and the world to CU.

Why is it important to have an international campus?

We live and work in a global society in which technology has erased geographic boundaries. Whether you are a student from Mongolia or Mancos, China or Cheyenne Wells, our increasing geographic diversity makes CU-Boulder a global crossroad in which to study and collaborate. This broadens the base of understanding among all students about their neighbors in the world. Studying, learning, and sharing knowledge together prepares our students for work and contribution in a globally competitive world.

Where do CU-Boulder’s international students come from?

Our international students represent 96 countries. The highest number of students come from China (621), India (310) and Saudi Arabia (144). International students are enrolled across all colleges and schools and it’s notable that they contribute $58 million a year to the state economy.

How do you attract foreign students to a university in the Rocky Mountain West?

Our international alumni are our best ambassadors for recruiting students. Over the last two years we’ve visited alumni in Dubai, Kuwait, London and China, revitalizing and forming alumni chapters in the latter two locations. We’ve also recruited heavily overseas. This year we recruited in 26 countries and admitted 386 international freshmen. We have emphasized services to support their success when they get here so they persist to graduation.

Do international students take seats from resident students?

No. Every in-state student who qualifies for admission to CU-Boulder is admitted and we are very proud of that. In fact, domestic and Colorado-resident students are beneficiaries of this initiative. A diversity of students lends richness to the classroom and the campus, gives all students broad cultural understanding and perspective and a more complete view of the world around them.

Illustration by Melinda Josie