The Institute of International Education ranked Ohio State among the nation’s top 20 universities for international student enrollment and students studying abroad, according to a 2010 report.
The Open Doors Report data is compiled from surveys sent annually to nearly 3,000 U.S. higher education institutions, according to the institute’s website.
The report’s 2009-10 statistics place OSU No. 15 for international students at its main campus, with 4,796 students of the total 55,014 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
According to the institute, international students are defined as anyone studying at an institution of higher education in the U.S. on a temporary visa that allows participation in academic coursework.
Chong Zhou, a third-year in international business and fashion and retail studies from Shenzhen, China, said that although she applied to several universities, OSU stood out as the best choice.
“Tuition and everything is very affordable, and OSU offered me scholarships, and that was very appealing to me,” Zhou said. “Also, among other schools that admitted me, OSU was more diverse and it has a huge campus, and I really liked that.”
She said OSU provides financial support, preparation for the future and social networking opportunities.
“They really stress that they want international students to feel welcome and feel at home here, and I really appreciate how they organize a lot of events to help international students get used to the culture here while still encouraging them to express their own cultures, too,” Zhou said.
Pablo Chignolli, a third-year in Latin American studies and native of Lima, Peru, said that although he knows OSU does a good job of recruiting internationally, he doesn’t think the fees are attractive to some potential students.
“I think they will be able to get more international students if they lower their fees because as I understand fees are much more expensive than they are for other students here,” Chignolli said.
According to the Undergraduate Admissions website, the estimated cost for tuition and living expenses in the 2010-11 academic year for an international student is $39,837, compared to an Ohio resident’s fees of $19,584.
Dieter Wanner, associate provost for Global Strategies and International Affairs, said that although the fees are high, international students are receiving an experience worth the price.
“I think you have to look at the fees in the context of what is really out there in the rest of the world,” Wanner said. “If you look at the actual amount, yes it is a high price, but it is a high price for a sophisticated, high-level and high-quality service.”
According to the Office of International Affairs website, the university’s international students are from 104 countries, including 1,576 from China, 822 from South Korea, 821 from India, 249 from Taiwan and 114 from Turkey.
“I do notice that the diversity is overwhelmed by Chinese, Indian and South Korean students, but as a whole, I think international students are represented well here because you can see them everywhere basically,” Zhou said.
The university hosts students from 68 countries that have fewer than 10 students enrolled, including five from Jordan, four from Uganda, three from Norway, two from Slovakia and one from Belarus, said Maureen Miller, the Office of International Affairs director of communication, in an e-mail.
OSU students are also represented across the world, and the most popular study abroad destinations include the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Turkey, according to the office’s website.
As of 2008-09, OSU ranked No. 3 for short-term study abroad in the Open Doors Report with 1,590 students, following Michigan State University and the University of Georgia. Short-term study abroad programs involve a quarter-long course followed by a one- to three-week study abroad program in a related area of the world. OSU also ranked No. 20 for the total number studying abroad with 1,758 students.
The Institute of International Education defines students studying abroad as those who received academic credit from a U.S. higher education institution while studying abroad.
Brittany Strine, a fourth-year in dance and Spanish, said she completed a short-term study abroad program last summer in Mexico, and her experience has influenced her to also participate in a spring break trip to Costa Rica this year.
“I thought the trip was amazing and definitely worthwhile,” Strine said. “The program offered through OSU not only helped me fulfill academic requirements, but it expanded my horizons in a way that you just can’t have in a classroom, so I think studying abroad is really important.”
Wanner said he agrees that nothing can replace an international experience and hopes to encourage student participation in the coming years.
“We are always working for better opportunities, especially on the study abroad side, to make options more accessible for more students and not only increase numbers but increase travel by different kinds of students from different fields,” he said. “It is a big challenge and hard to make a reality, but we are definitely working on it.”
Founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education is a nonprofit organization providing programs in the international exchange of people and ideas, according to its website. It releases the annual Open Doors Report on more than 500,000 international students in the U.S. and more than 200,000 U.S. students who study abroad.