University of California San Diego hosted a Symposium on “Enhancing the International Student Experience” during International Education Week 2019. Through the Symposium, UCSD is bringing together campus stakeholders for examining effective approaches to supporting international student success. UCSD is one of the 11 campuses in the US serving over 10,000 international students, including nearly 2,000 students on OPT.
I was invited to deliver a keynote to campus stakeholders on the importance of campus climate in supporting international student success. My key message was that a positive campus climate directly contributes to maximizing the transformative impact of international education experience. Given the context of the unwelcoming rhetoric and immigration policies, presence of inclusive and welcoming campus climate has become even more important. I emphasized the importance of recognizing the diversity of international student needs and expectations and reinvesting to support their success. I concluded by sharing a framework of 3R’s for enhancing international student experience–reframing from deficit to asset mindset, representing international student voice, and reinvesting in international student support services.
In addition, the office of Institutional Research presented survey data on international student experience compared to domestic students at both undergraduate and graduate level. It was also heartening to listen to the stories and experiences of international students. One student said that just “the idea” of studying in the US was enough to keep her motivated in her high school to do well. Another student said that he wished if people did not stereotype that all international students are rich.