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China Gateway main factor for spike in enrollment

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Whether it’s the economy, Midwestern atmosphere or the university’s prestige, Chinese enrollment at Ohio State has recently skyrocketed.

Marco Chavez, interim senior assistant director for international recruitment at OSU, said 253 Chinese students were enrolled in 2008.

“In autumn of 2011, we enrolled 1,758 whose nationality is Chinese,” Chavez said. “From 2008, this represents an almost 700 percent increase.”

Chavez gave a few main reasons why this recruitment has increased.

“Chinese government initiatives encouraging their population to study abroad; currencies devaluing against the Chinese currency making their currency go farther,” Chavez said. “Chinese universities not being able to accommodate their population.”

But Chavez said those were not the main reasons most Chinese students came to a “thriving Midwest city.”

“The students that choose Ohio State, though, choose it because they find it is a good fit for them academically and culturally,” Chavez said. “They are attracted by our international reputation in various academic fields.”

But after their visa has expired, most students return home, Chavez said.

“Graduating from a university in the United States does not guarantee that a foreign national will be granted a visa to work in the U.S.,” Chavez said.

Mauren Miller, director of communications for student affairs at OSU, said OSU’s Global Gateway office in China helped spike enrollment.

“Having a presence in another country enables Ohio State to further its teachings, research and engagement mission,” Miller said.

Miller said the program offices partner with Ohio-based corporations while conducting business abroad, and other Global Gateways will be open soon.

“Plans are to open a Global Gateway office in Mumbai, India, in March,” Miller said. “Ohio State is looking at other Global Gateway opportunities in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Turkey, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Phoebe You, director of the China Gateway in Shanghai, said in an email that the program now has more flexibility and is able to facilitate internships in the country.

You said the U.S. has always been a popular destination for “top Chinese students.”

“Obama has announced the ‘100,000′ strong programs,” You said. “This means in the next few years, U.S. universities will send over 100,000 students to China for study abroad and other types of exchange programs.”

You said Ohio has traditionally been friendly to Chinese people.

“The university itself has built a culture of welcoming and supporting international students and supporting international scholars over the years,” You said.

Some Chinese students choose OSU for its academic status and low fees.

“I got offers from many different universities,” said Grace Chen, a second-year in electrical and computer engineering. “Ohio State was the most distinguished of all schools. (OSU) also had the lowest tuition fee.”

Yong Chen, a graduate student in organic chemistry, had other options and still chose OSU.

“I am from Tianjin,” Yong Chen said. “And had three or more choices applying for school, but Ohio State was the best option.”

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