Academic journal article Journal of International Students

Who Are International Students? Enrollment Trends and Recent Research

Academic journal article Journal of International Students

Who Are International Students? Enrollment Trends and Recent Research

Article excerpt

We are pleased to welcome you to our spring 2016 edition of the Journal of International Students, a quarterly publication on international higher education! This edition of the Journal has included a variety of topics related to international students' social and academic experiences, study abroad trends, student engagement and academic success, cross-cultural experiences, and learning practices in higher education in the United States and around the world.

In this volume, 33 authors, who represented several institutions of higher education, have shared their perspectives and research findings (both quantitative and qualitative) based on their experiences in Canada, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each article is rich in term of cross cultural perspectives of mobile students, their learning experiences, and campus diversity.

Who are International Students?

A general definition of an international student, as Shapiro, Farrelly and Tomas (2014) acknowledged, is "a student who moves to another country (the host country) for the purpose of pursuing tertiary or higher education e.g., college or university" (p.2). The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines international student as: "Anyone who is enrolled at an institution of higher education in the United States who is not a U.S. citizen, an immigrant (permanent resident) or a refugee."

However, the definition and other inclusion/exclusion criteria for international students may be different in many countries. The term "international student" is a new temporary identity for all mobile students. Once international students complete their studies or go back to their home country, or start working overseas on a different visa status, the temporary identity as an international student goes away (Bista & Foster, 2016). In the context of US higher education, there are many terminologies that are in practice to classify international students such as foreign students, nonimmigrant students, mobile students, transnational students, inbound/outbound students, guest students, and so on.

International Student Enrollment

The number of international students at US colleges and universities increased to 974,926 students in the 2014/2015 academic year (Institute of International Education, 2015). Students from India and Brazil showed the largest increases whereas Latin America is the fastest growing region. China, India, and South Korea are top three countries sending international students to US colleges and universities. According to the Open Doors 2015, international students constituted almost five percent of 20 million students enrolled in US higher education. A majority of international students study business, engineering, math/computer science, and physical/life sciences in the US. According to new report, top US institutions hosting more than 10,000 international students are New York University (13,178), the University of Southern California (12,334), Columbia University (11,510), Arizona State University (11,330), the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (11,223), Northeastern University (10,559), Purdue University, West Lafayette (10,230), and the University of California, Los Angeles (10,209). Among all international students, there were 40.9 % undergraduate students, 37.2 % graduate students, and 9.6% non-degree students in 2014/2015 academic year.

Synopsis of Articles Included in the Volume

Susannah McFaul addresses the importance of international student engagement on campus and creating friendships with host-country nationals during their time abroad. She focuses on developing student programming that encourages friendship making, cross-cultural workshops, and offering support systems for international students. Eun Jeong (Esther) Lee investigated international and American students' perceptions of informal English conversations with each other. In Lee's study, international students reported that informal English conversations increased their linguistic and cultural competence, whereas Americans students identified it as cultural exchange to expand their own cultures and experiences

In their study, Zi Yan and Patricia Sendall found a First Year Experience (FYE) course being beneficial to familiarize international students with academic resources and expectations, to understand American culture and to improve their English language skills. …

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