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University initiatives increase number of international students on campus

With a substantial growth in the amount of international students in New Hampshire, UNH has become more of a melting pot of cultures than ever before. 

According to the Concord Monitor, the number of international students attending school in New Hampshire has increased by about 40 percent, and UNH has been a major source of this immense increase. 

According to the paper, UNH had about 940 international students on the Durham campus last year.  However, those numbers have already increased by an incredible amount in just one year.

Thuy Nguyen, the international student and scholar advisor at the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) said that the number of international students on campus this year is “probably up to 1,200.”

“We just welcomed another 230 new students,” Nguyen said. “There is a whole effort by the university to internationalize the campus.”

Though there has been an increase in foreign attendance, admissions may not be the place to look for the jump in numbers.

Every year 30-40 new international students are enrolled, according to Senior Assistant Director of Admissions Chelsea Warner. “The big program is the Navitas program, which is bringing in somewhere around 400 students enrolled in their program,” she said.

Though interested foreign students can apply to UNH directly through admissions, Navitas allows students to better their English language and take core classes with other international students while adjusting themselves to the new culture of their surroundings.

“Basically it is a bridge program for international students,” Warner said. “It is a program with the goal of having more of an international presence on campus.”

Students in Navitas can take classes in the program for anywhere between two and six semesters before transferring to a full time degree program at the school.  These students take English as a second language courses (ESL) as well as core requirements in the program, and are then admitted into a regular full-time degree program if they meet the requirements.

Once they have finished their core Navitas classes, students in the program can then transfer into UNH classes and continue to pursue a degree program, making Navitas a prime bridge to collegiate success for international students. 

After five years, Navitas has successfully increased the international community at UNH, and has established a graduate program as well.    

Though Navitas may be a big part of the increase, it is not the only reason students from outside the United States are choosing UNH as their new home. 

According to Nguyen, UNH is set apart from other schools in the U.S. by the opportunities available for international students.

“I think once students get here, they realize the range of activities they can do,” Nguyen said. “They realize it is a pretty cool place because of the opportunities.”

Due in part to OISS, UNH provides aid to increase those opportunities, which includes workshops to help adjust to the culture. Such opportunities also include multicultural events and coordination with other departments, such as counseling, that allow for international students to have a smoother adjustment to college than what may be available at a different university.

The benefits are not one sided, however, as globalizing the campus also allows for American students to be exposed to new cultures.

“I really believe in the value of global education,” Nguyen said. “I think if we can create that kind of learning environment where students can really learn from each other, it’s just better all around.”

The mixture of cultures on this campus provides all students, whether international or not, with multiple perspectives on the world. With all of the resources UNH has to offer international students, it’s safe to say it will only continue to grow.   

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