The topic of current U.S. relations with other countries and how they are impacting incoming international students can be a bit of a hot-button issue.
Looking closer at the population of international students on campus is one piece of the puzzle, and doing so can offer some insight on this issue.
According to Jennifer Adams, the director of international education, the university’s records show that there were 72 international students enrolled at the university in the fall of 2018.
Of those 72 students, 10 were on OPT — optional practical training — meaning they were no longer registered at the university but were spending a year in the U.S. after graduating to work in their field of study.
This is down from the 82 international students who were enrolled at the university in the fall of 2017. Four of these students were on OPT.
Going back further, the trend becomes more steady, with a decrease of around 10 or so international students each subsequent year — 2015: 103 students, five on OPT; 2016: 94 students, seven on OPT; 2017: 82 students, four on OPT; and 2018: 72 students, 10 on OPT.
These numbers, however, are only reflective of students who are on a non-immigrant visa, and they do not include students who were born in the U.S. but grew up in another country, even though they may consider themselves international students.
Adams believes the decline can be attributed to a combination of current culture and a lack of initiative on the university’s part.
“I think the climate in the United States is not as hospitable ,” Adams said. “But I think the other reason is that … we haven’t been doing a lot of outward recruiting of international students.”
Adams went on to say that the admissions office will be doing an active recruiting trip later this month.
“We’ll see whether that makes a change,” Adams said. “We hope that it will.”
Despite the trend of international student decline at the university, it seems the national trend actually shows a growing number of international students coming to the U.S.
According to NAFSA, or the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs, based on international student enrollment information provided by Open Doors, there has been a steady growth of at least 20,000 international students per year since 2007.
Even on campus, there are still international students who want to study in America.
Ishan Thapa, a senior music major and film and media minor, came to the university from Brunei.
“For me, what cemented my decision to come to Capital was seeing all the course [options] for the piano program,” Thapa said. “Especially in terms of music, there’s a lot more opportunities in the U.S. than there are in Southeast Asia, so I would definitely love to be able to get a job in the U.S.”
Similarly, sophomore criminology major Heba Fathala said her decision to come to the U.S. was an easy decision to make.
While Fathala’s family lived in the U.S. before moving to the Middle East, she grew up and attended high school overseas and considers herself an international student.
“When it came [time] to apply for colleges, my dad was like ‘I really like the Columbus area, so check out some schools there,’” Fathala said. “[Capital’s admissions office] helped me through everything, answered any questions I had. Then I took the online tour, and I was pretty much sold then. I was like, ‘This place looks awesome. The people are so nice; they’re really helping me out.’”