UCLA's popularity continues to grow among international students


UCLA's reputation as a top university for international students has been recognized once again with the release of Open Doors, an annual round-up published by the Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States.

By Claudia Luther

The newly released Open Doors 2012 report places UCLA third among the nation's public universities, and sixth overall, in enrolling international students. During the 2011–12 academic year, 6,703 foreign students selected UCLA as their academic destination, a 7 percent increase over 2010–11.

Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management at UCLA, said that UCLA's strong placement shows that the university provides an especially welcoming environment for international students — primarily because of its overall academic excellence and the depth of its offerings.

She added that another big draw is UCLA's deep well of services and support for students from many countries. The campus's Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars, for example, offers a wide array of multicultural programs and services, including a special new-student orientation that provides valuable information on important matters and helps prepare international students for success at UCLA.

The Dashew Center also hosts a comprehensive program in which international and American students meet to talk about culture, language, politics, holidays and traditions, as well as a variety of other events designed to bring international and domestic students together for the benefit of both.

"All of that is not even to mention UCLA's stunningly beautiful campus, in one of the world's leading metropolises. No matter what our students want to study, we're the perfect place for it," Copeland-Morgan said. "We are honored to have these students on our campus. They enrich our campus with their broad-based knowledge, the diverse and unique perspectives they bring to the classroom and their vibrancy. They help prepare all our students to work and compete in a global society."

Copeland-Morgan emphasized that while there has been an increase in the number of international students at UCLA, the university has maintained its commitment to California residents, continuing to offer admission to in-state students at a level equal to prior years.

"We are multiplying the benefits to everyone," Copeland-Morgan said. "It's challenging but extremely rewarding to watch our campus expand to include the many valuable experiences that students from diverse cultures bring."

According to the Open Doors report, the past decade has seen the number of international students studying in the U.S. increase by a third, with China, India and South Korea continuing to top the countries of origin. Together, these three countries account for almost half of total international enrollment.

The Open Doors report found that the biggest increase in international students was among those from China, which sends more than 194,000 to U.S. universities. Overall, Chinese students represent slightly more than one-quarter of all international students coming to America.

The most popular areas of study overall for international students, the report found, were business and management, followed by engineering; mathematics and computer science; social sciences; physical and life sciences; fine and applied arts; intensive English; health professions; education; humanities; and agriculture, with the rest of these students either undeclared or pursuing other fields of study.

The report also found that the number of UCLA students participating in study-abroad programs has remained steady. The university placed third among public universities, and fourth overall in the nation, in the number of students who study abroad, with 2,451 students earning academic credit for studying in other countries in 2010–11.

"As the job market increasingly demands a globally minded resume, study abroad plays an important role in opening doors to students after graduation," said Hadyn Dick, director of the UCLA International Education Office. "Students face more challenges today in obtaining scholarship support and other financial aid to study abroad, yet participation remains strong. We're mindful that in the years ahead, accessibility to programs will get tougher, but we are committed to helping students in any way we can."

The Open Doors report includes 2011–12 figures for international students and 2010–11 numbers for U.S. students studying abroad. U.S. study abroad in 2011–12 will be reported in Open Doors 2013, once credit is awarded by students' home campuses.

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012