Utah celebrates International Education Week

Nov 19, 2015

Colleges throughout the country are celebrating International Education Week, honoring the benefits of learning about other cultures and enhancing cultural diversity.

And international student populations keep growing, some Utah colleges say.

Weber State University reported they have about 400 international students, according to Tiana Witkamp, an administrative assistant.

Of Dixie State University's student body consisting of 8,500 students, 190 are international students, and the program is growing, said Andrea Brow, the director of program assessment and institutional research.

Utah State University's Office of Global Engagement Immigration Advisor, Amanda Castillo, said Utah State University has 600 to 800 international students, and these students come to Logan seeking a variety of opportunities in science, mathematics and many other majors.

"I think that's something that our world leaders realize is a skill-set that really can enhance an individual's not only resume, but as a person, to be able to deal with global issues, to deal with various places around the world, and so we’re really trying to increase our study abroad numbers, is one of our missions within our office," Castillo said.

Utah State University's International Student Council president, Yuzan Luo, came to USU in 2012 and said he is thankful for the opportunity to study in the United States, appreciating the mash of international cultures he has become acquainted with. He was born in China, lived in Botswana for 12 years, and then came to USU where he studies mechanical engineering.

"I think coming here is one, to understand your culture and be able to deliver that message, and two, is also to acknowledge other cultures and you have to learn and understand and interact with them in order to be together better, to kind of socialize better, understand better," Luo said.

He added, “I think Utah is a perfect transition to come here from Botswana, and coming here it’s been very rewarding."

Melanie De los Angeles dances the Merengue with her partner.
Credit Katie Peikes / UPR

At USU's "Around the World Family Night" in the Taggart Student Center, many students came together to showcase international performances, share foods from different cultures and participate a fashion show. Melanie De los Angeles, a first year student studying Economics and Mathematics, performed the Merengue, a dance from her home, the Dominican Republic.

"When I came here I met so many people and now I'm studying economics which is about what's happening in the world," she said. "I feel more connected, I feel like other people have an impact on me, and other cultures."

International Education Week continues through Saturday, Nov. 21.