Academic journal article Journal of International Students

International Students in American Colleges and Universities: A History

Academic journal article Journal of International Students

International Students in American Colleges and Universities: A History

Article excerpt

International Students in American Colleges and Universities: A History. Bevis, T. B. & Lucas, C. J. (2007). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN-13: 978-0-230-60011-9. 279 pp., $86.63.

International Students in American Colleges and Universities: A History provides a comprehensive historical overview of international student exchange in the U.S. The purpose of this book is to trace the history of international students in institutions of American higher education by enumerating why and how international students have studied in the U.S. since the 18th century. It also provides an overview of international students' impact on American higher education and society. International educators will not only obtain historical knowledge of international students but also become enlightened about the field of internationalization.

Written in a chronological order, the book opens up with a brief overview of how students have travelled to foreign regions primarily in Europe, such as ancient Greece, to learn in premodern times. In subsequent chapters, Bevis and Lucas trace the emergence of international students and describe how and why international students came to the U.S. Through data collected from historical primary sources, they analyze issues pertaining to population change, such as immigration policy, global competition, and political movements in foreign countries, among other factors.

The book focuses on reasons to support international students that started in the early 1900s. Today, supporting international students remains an important working area for student service professionals figuring out the best ways to facilitate cultural adjustment and English language training, among other dilemmas. The book also describes two essential organizations born during international students' proliferation in the early 1900s: the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA, now called the National Association of International Educators).

World War I and World War II, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and their aftermath are the primary world events that Bevis and Lucas describe in the book as being related to the development of international student exchange. Bevis and Lucas acknowledge the critical role that immigration regulations played for visiting and international students and scholars. Their illuminating account begins with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and continues with the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, which profoundly affected student migration to the U.S. The McCarran-Walter Act made international students' visa processing more complex and presented more challenges. In the late 1950s, as immigration regulation eased, academic institutions planned to expand international student enrollment.

Bevis and Lucas also highlight the growing ability of community colleges to attract foreign students in the 1980s. By the end of 20th century, the international student enrollment percentage was the highest in community colleges, compared to other institutions.

The final section of this book concludes that increasing global competition in the late 20th century has promoted the internationalization of American higher education. Increasing U.S. visa restrictions and a less welcoming attitude towards non-Americans drove international students to study in English-speaking countries other than the U.S. The 9/11 attacks also led to more restricted visa issuance policies and ultimately precipitated a temporary decline in international student enrollment.

In its epilogue, the book presents Harvard economics professor George J. Borjas and NAFSA international educators' debate about the rationale for supporting international students. Borjas questions whether such a large-scale foreign program is in the best interests of the U.S. because of what it costs the U.S.. Meanwhile, NAFSA calls for an elevation of international education as a national priority to attract the world's talents in order to restore U. …

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