The University of Houston ranks among the top 25 colleges and universities in the nation for hosting the most international students on its campus in 2011-2012. The news comes from the Institute of International Education (IIE), an independent and not-for-profit education and training organization that researches and administers programs for corporations, foundations, government partners and international agencies.
The IIE is releasing the information titled “2012 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange” in a news conference in Washington, D.C. with the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which funds the research.
“International students choose UH for a number of reasons,” said Dr. Gerald Strickland, associate vice chancellor/associate vice president of International Studies and Programs. “One is the outstanding education they will receive. The other is the culturally welcoming atmosphere of the city of Houston, ensuring that our international students would find it like home.”
The University of Houston, the second-most ethnically diverse urban research university in the country, is one of only three Texas universities represented on the list.
The IIE report finds that the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 6 percent to a record high of 764,495 in the 2011-2012 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased by 1 percent. This year, international exchanges in all 50 states contributed $22.7 billion to the U.S. economy.
“Academic and intellectual exchange fuels innovation and prepares the next generation for global citizenship,” said IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman. “Today’s students will become future business and government leaders whose international experience will equip them to build a prosperous and more peaceful world.”
UH hosts nearly 5,000 international students, according to the most recent UH data, predominantly from China, India, Vietnam, Nigeria and South Korea. UH assigns individual international admission counselors to each country, so students have an individual contact person to assist them in the admission and enrollment process. In addition to support these students receive from the UH Office of International Studies and Programs and the International Students and Scholars Services Office, many international students enroll in the UH Language and Cultural Center, which helps them become acquainted with American culture and more fluent in the English language, so that they can pursue higher education research.
“I wanted to expand my knowledge and prove myself on a new and larger level,” said Bilal Tawil, an international student from Lebanon. “The experience has opened opportunities, in addition to the tremendous enlightening, by belonging to a place by choice, being comfortable in a foreign language and dealing with people from different backgrounds.”
For Malcolm Dosta, an international student form Mumbai, the campus’ international diversity attracted him to UH in 2008 to pursue a master’s and Ph.D. in computer science.
“Attending school at UH and earning my degree form this university has given me a great confidence to land a satisfying and fulfilling job in one of the top research or IT companies that service people worldwide,” said Dosta. “In addition to achieving professional success, I also have developed the desire to be serve my community where ever I may be.”
In addition, UH maintains several partnerships with international universities that provide exchange opportunities for students and faculty.
“Our students bring the world to UH — the cultures, the languages, the ideas — and we all benefit from that,” Strickland said.
The IEE report comes on the heels of another recognition for the role UH plays in a city known as an international center of business and entrepreneurship. The Greater Houston Partnership recently named university president Renu Khator as International Business Executive of the Year, one of its most prestigious international honors, for her leadership in global workforce development, cutting-edge research and worldwide industry partnerships.
Fast facts, mobility data from selected countries and each U.S. state, and executive summaries of the Open Doors 2012 findings are available at www.iie.org/opendoors.