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ASU is the top public university of choice for international students

The university marks its 4th consecutive year atop the Institute of International Education rankings

international students
November 13, 2018

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. Read more top stories from 2018 here.

Arizona State University is ranked as the top public university of choice for international students, according to the 2018 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. This is the fourth consecutive year that ASU has topped all public universities on the list, which is based on figures from the 2017–18 academic year.

During 2017–18, ASU was home to more than 13,400 international students from over 136 countries. This community of international students places ASU as the No. 5 overall college or university to host international students in the nation — in the company of private universities New York University, University of Southern California, Northeastern University and Columbia University, ranked first through fourth, respectively.

The Open Doors study, published by the independent nonprofit Institute of International Education, reported that the number of international students in the United States surpassed one million for the third consecutive year. The U.S. remains the top host of international students globally.

“Our international students bring the whole world to our university. They are a diverse set of learners who enrich our university culture and make ASU a truly global community,” said Holly Singh, senior director of the International Students and Scholars Center (ISSC).

International students choose ASU for numerous reasons, including undergraduate and graduate research opportunities, a diverse set of campus environments, the first-rate faculty and its international reputation for innovation.

Ye Chen studied at Hunan University and came to ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business through a student exchange program, partially sponsored by the China Scholarship Council. After two semesters at ASU, she didn’t consider any other university for her graduate program. Now majoring in higher and postsecondary education, she said she fell in love with everything — the faculty, staff and school culture.

“I found my career passion to work with college students,” Chen said. “I deeply agree with the values here: inclusion, community building and serving the public. This is why I decided to come back to ASU and follow my passion and study higher education as my master’s degree.”

With such a diverse student community, there are opportunities to learn from other cultures and make international friends, she added. The other incentive for Chen? The great Arizona weather.

Those who call ASU home not only have access to a high-grade education, they also receive support before setting foot on the campuses and beyond graduation.

ASU has a network of support systems in place to ensure students succeed through graduation. ISSC provides international students resources and advisement on a wide array of topics during their stay in the U.S.

“As students continue to value international education, it will be critical for us to support them in holistic and comprehensive fashion,” Singh said. “These students are not only learning in the academic sphere but also at psycho-emotional and sociocultural levels, thereby creating new ways of connecting and collaborating. These ‘global citizens’ need our full support so they continue to create a better future for us.”

Invested in the success of all of its students, the university supports students beyond graduation. ISSC facilitates the transition between school and job placement opportunities. Optional Practical Training allows eligible students to receive up to 12 months of employment authorization in their major area of study and receive real-world experience to boost their employability.

Gnyanesh Trivedi came to ASU to pursue a graduate degree in mechanical engineering from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and said he chose ASU for the vibrant campus and the opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

“I believe that the engineering career center is a phenomenal place,” he said. “During the time I was employed there, I learned of the myriad resources available to help students focus on career development and job hunting.”

Trivedi, a graduate who is now taking advantage of Optional Practical Training (OPT), continues to stay connected to the university and ASU alumni through ASU-hosted events. He credits ISSC for anticipating student needs — providing him information on the university resources he can tap into — during his time on campus, providing him continued support through his OPT and keeping him on track after graduation.

“OPT is the best way for an international student in the U.S. to gain experience upon completion of, and sometimes even during, their degree,” he added.  “It's the best way to have hands-on experience and put classroom/lab-based knowledge into practical industry based application.”

Beyond visa, travel and job placement assistance, ISSC assists students in adapting to American university life and aids with cultural adjustment — providing opportunities for students to engage on campus through workshops and informal gatherings. This includes the Let’s Chat Series — an opportunity for students to practice and focus on English communication skills.

Programs like Global Launch were developed to prepare students to thrive in globally connected world, providing language training and academic preparation support for international students who are looking to refine their English or students who plan on studying, working or living abroad.

ASU has a history of engaging on a global level and engaging with people and issues locally, nationally and internationally.

Open Doors also reported a 6 percent increase in ASU students studying abroad in the 2016–17 academic year, placing ASU in the top 10 for students who studied abroad. Over the past five years, ASU has consistently climbed the ranks from unranked to 10th in the nation, sending students on credit-bearing study abroad programs through various international study, research, internship and service opportunities in numerous places around the globe.

In addition, opportunities for research development and international collaboration exist in more than 80 countries through various initiatives such as the Global Sport Institute and the Global Security Initiative

“I feel like there are unlimited resources here at ASU for students,” Chen said. “I always strongly encourage students that have great ideas to take action because you will have all the resources and support from the university to make it happen. Not all universities put so much effort to support the success of their students like ASU."

PLAYLIST: ASU students on their study abroad experiences

Top photo: The packed audience begins to get into the Sun Devil spirit at the International Orientation Opening Ceremonies at ASU Gammage, on Aug. 8. Around 2,000 students and 300 parents came to the event. ASU is the top public university in the U.S. for international students, coming from more than 136 countries. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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