Studying abroad: An adventure in diversity

Twenty-six international students from various countries currently study at Wilson College. The Institute of International Education’s (IIE) “Open Doors 2013” report says about 819,644 international students study in the United States per year, and that number increases every year.

The United States proves popular with international students, but why do the international students prefer the U.S. to other countries? One possibility is that the English language dominates globally. Students want to work at a global company which typically uses English as its main language.

Wilson's 2014-15 International Students
Wilson’s 2014-15 International Students

The rate of Chinese international students remains the highest and continues to rise. India has the second, and Korea has the third highest rate of student studying abroad.

International students must pass a required exam to study abroad. After passing the exam, they apply to the colleges at which they wish to study. If they receive certification to enter the school, they apply to the American Embassy to get a student visa. They usually receive an F-1 or J-1 visa. An F-1 visa is considered the general visa for an exchange student. Students who have J-1 visas have to get support from the U.S. government, educational institutions in the U.S., or their home country.

Han Yan ‘18 who studies at Wilson College as an international student from China, majors in financial mathematics as a junior.

Yan said, “I have a friend who graduated, helped me apply to Wilson College.” Yan’s friend gave advice on applying study in the U.S.

“Studying in the U.S. is harder than China. That’s why I prefer study in the U.S. Also, I want challenge,” Yan says, for that, she took an exam called the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

A male exchange student from Tunisia, Omar Ben Tanfous, plans to study in the U.S. for one year. He studied at the National Institute of Applied Science and Technology (INSAT), which ranks as one of the top five-year universities in Tunisia.

Tanfous majors in engineering, networking and telecommunication as a senior. But at Wilson College, Tanfous majors in international relations as a freshman. The Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program has helped him to study abroad.

The scholarship program required three steps: an English application, an English interview, and a passing TOEFL exam score. About two thousand people applied to the scholarship program but the program only selected 88 students

“I want to discover another culture, and understanding,” Tanfous says. “Wilson College has diverse international students, so I can understand other cultures. And I want to improve my English. So, the language is the hardest thing for me. At first it was really hard to say what I want. But I keep trying to learn. My American friends help me a lot.”

International students experience difficulties, but studying abroad also has many benefits. Students can understand other cultures, and learn new languages, make new friends, and gain new perspectives.

To learn more about studying abroad or international students, contact the Muhibbah Club or the Asian Club at

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