The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

61° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Passport to higher education

Roughly 80 international students are studying at the UA this semester through the Student Exchange program.

About 65 came to the UA last semester according to Laura Thornes, assistant director of the Office of Study Abroad and Student Exchange.

Thornes said many of the students this semester are from Ireland, but the demographic changes by semester.

“”It is very important to study abroad for the sake of exploring unknown territory and gaining new experiences,”” said Angelica Arenzana Lopez, an international student studying communication and a student assistant in the division of International Affairs.

Lopez came to the UA because she “”liked the campus and the weather.””

“”It’s very important to be in a place that makes you feel happy,”” Lopez said, “”and that’s how I felt when I saw the campus.””

In addition to the international students participating in the exchange, thousands of international students choose to study at the UA each year. The UA hosted 2,889 foreign students during the 2009-2010 academic year, and 2,913 attended the year before, according to the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs and the Institute of International Education.

Juan Pedro Cota Carrasco, an international student, said he chose to study at the UA because of his major in aerospace engineering.

Carrasco said it is important to become an “”international citizen.””

Dale Lafleur, assistant director of International Affairs, said international study “”fosters mutual understanding and allows students to develop leadership skills and the capacity to address challenges both locally and globally.””

Fifty-seven percent of people said international study is very essential or moderately essential to the educational experience, according to a public opinion survey by the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs. The survey also said 65 percent of Americans believe that if our young people do not learn foreign languages, they will be at a competitive disadvantage in their careers.

“”The beautiful thing about studying internationally is that you meet so many people from different corners of the world, and we are all able to get along very well,”” Lopez said.

Studying internationally also brings the host country economic gains. NAFSA reported that international students contributed $18.8 billion to the U.S. economy for the 2009-10 academic year.

International students at the UA contributed a net of $66,584.20 through tuition, fees and living expenses.

Thornes said international study with student exchange, study abroad and international students coming to the UA creates valued partnerships, diverse classroom influences, and long-lasting relationships.

Thornes also mentioned a UA instituted “”Buddy Program”” that partners an international student with a student from the UA to introduce them to the campus. The UA students show them where the international students’ classes are, where Campus Health Service is, how to get a cell phone and other practical things.

“”The peer integrators at orientation made us feel like Wildcats from the moment we arrived,”” Lopez said, “”and I love having Wildcat pride.””

More to Discover
Activate Search