SF State proves big draw for world students
December 6, 2007 9:55 AM
Located in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, it seems only natural that SF State would be the top destination for international students from the around the globe.
For the third year in a row, the university officially lead the pack in master’s degree-granting institutions for hosting international students.
The 2006-2007 Institute of International Education revealed that SF State hosted nearly 2,500 international students and, according to an SF State statement, a nearly 24 percent growth over the previous academic year. SF State also placed second in its category for sending students abroad.
Jay Ward, associate director at SF State’s Office of International Programs, said these figures can be directly attributed to more recruiting for the program both on a domestic level and on an international level with recruiters for the program going overseas to sell the program to other countries.
Ward also mentioned the university's notable diverse student demographics, and said having many international students on campus benefits all students on the campus—especially those that may have a limited knowledge of other cultures.
“A lot of our students haven’t been 50 miles outside this city,” he said. “Students can travel the world without leaving the campus.”
My Yarabinec, coordinator of the Study Abroad and International Exchange Programs at SF State, said there are roughly 200 exchange students. Yarabinec praised the university’s “good support group,” plethora of services, and good reputation for attracting so many students.
“Usually students are satisfied with their stay here,” Yarabinec said. “San Francisco is an attractive destination for young people.”
Katrin Melzer, 23, co-chair of the International Education Exchange Council, came here from Germany at the beginning of this semester and plans to stay through next spring. The psychology major said she is impressed by the psychology program at SF State, adding that her teachers use good “practical approaches” in the classroom.
“They were so caring,” she said of the people she works with in the international studies program. “It was very nice.” She said she would definitely recommend the program to other students. “I’m so happy I did it; I experienced so much I see things differently and I think I’ve grown a lot.”
Melzer said she sees advantages and disadvantages in the exchange programs both here and at the University of Tuebingen, her home college in Germany.
This semester, Bruno Arakaki, 21, became one of the first two students to come to SF State from Brazil. The kinesiology major said he has had a positive experience at SF State.
“I expected people to be colder, but they’re very friendly,” he said.
Arakaki pays for his own housing costs, but a scholarship from Sao Paulo pays for his tuition and travel expenses.
Although Arakaki is going back to Brazil’s University of Sao Paulo in March, he is entertaining the idea of returning to the United States after graduation to look for a sports-related job.
“United States is the country of opportunity if you want to work,” he said.
Marie Pauline Guinam, a journalism major from the Philippines, is known as an F-1 international student because she came to SF State for the full program. Guinam recently won a scholarship in the program for $700, which is a welcome respite since being an international student entails paying an additional $339 per unit on top of registration fees.
“It’s totally worth it,” Guinam said of the cost. “Coming here and adjusting to another culture was a challenge [but] you’re finding out new things—it’s kind of an adventure,” she said.
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