By HAYLEE BATES
The engines rattle the plane as they prepare for takeoff, and tears roll down a young girl’s face as she leaves her family behind.
This is an experience similar to the one Princess Adenuga, junior international student from Nigeria, had as she made her journey from Nigeria to the United States. Her goal for this journey was to continue her education at the collegiate level.
The United States is starting to see a trend of international students enrolling in classes at universities throughout the country. International students made a new record for the 2013-2014 academic year as the United States welcomed in 886,052 undergraduate and graduate students, which equaled about 4 percent of the student population, said Devon Haynie, U.S. News reporter.
Universities throughout the country have seen a 72 percent overall increase of international students since 2000, Haynie said.
Northwestern is among the universities that have seen a drastic increase of international students in recent years. It has seen a 147.9 percent increase of international students from 2012-2015, said Calleb Mosburg, dean of student affairs and enrollment management.
Northwestern hosted representatives from 17 different countries on its campus for the fall semester of 2015, Mosburg said. The largest international student population on Northwestern’s campus is from Nepal, which includes 70 students. Nepal is followed by Canada with 17 students and Ghana with 10 students.
International students come to the United States to study for different reasons. “Some students come to the United States for something different and to experience something new beyond what they are used to,” said Rebecca Cook, international student advisor.
“I came to the United States for a better future,” said Pawana Itani, freshman international student from Nepal. “The political system is bad in Nepal, and the government is not caring for the students.”
International students come to Northwestern, specifically, for different reasons. “I came to Northwestern because it was affordable,” Adenuga said. “We also have a better opportunity for our education here.”
Students that come from foreign countries to study at Northwestern have to learn to adjust to a new culture. “It is still hard from me to adjust,” Adenuga said. “People don’t understand me when I talk and it makes it hard to communicate when I have to repeat myself multiple times.”
Northwestern offers an orientation class called Ranger Connection to help students adjust, and this allows international students to become familiar with the university as well as faculty and staff members, Cook said.
Building relationships with professors allows students to make connections and help them adapt to the university. “The faculty and staff are fantastic with our international students,” Cook said. “They care about them and are willing to help them if they need it.”
“I have become their mother away from home,” Cook said. “I want to be the person that they can constantly go to and depend on.”
As the international student population continues to grow Northwestern is looking for ways to help students adapt to the university and the culture that surrounds them. In the future we want to develop a mentoring program for international students, so they can be in contact with and receive advice from someone who has been in their position, Cook said.
International students may have to fly halfway across the world and leave their families behind to study in the United States, but “a certificate from the United States is highly valued in my country,” Adenuga said. “So I know I am doing the right thing.”