The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Various countries represented at Drake

Dozens of people swarm into the buildings carrying suitcases, boxes, refrigerators, microwaves and all other necessities of dorm room life. Turning a small dorm room into a home with people you’ve never met before while saying goodbye to your parents for several months is cause for plenty of stress. Imagine going through all of this in a foreign country.

Drake University has about 3,500 undergraduate students, and of that, there were 282 international students enrolled for fall 2011. Fifty different countries are represented on campus ranging from Canada to Tanzania.

Recruiting students from around the world takes strategic planning, but the same goals and basic processes are maintained. Carrie Lewis, the assistant director of international admission, helps draw international high school students to Drake.

“We are looking for the same kinds of qualities and kinds of students — just a little further away than most of the domestic admission counselors work,” Lewis said.

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While the distance overseas can inhibit students’ abilities to fully experience all Drake has to offer, the university provides some opportunities for access to many aspects of Drake life. Specifically, there are live online video chats with faculty, and all prospective international students are encouraged to join in.

However, not all international students come to Drake directly out of high school. Many students are transferring credits from two-year institutions. A large contributor to this population of transfer students is Malaysia. Malaysians represent 44.55 percent of the 282 international students.

Syed Afiful is a first-year student from Malaysia studying actuarial science. Afiful found out about Drake through his relatives and friends who recognized Drake’s strength in the field of actuarial science.

The components of international admissions that Afiful said gave him the most difficulty were obtaining the proper visa and taking the standardized tests required for the American school system.

Although Afiful’s first time on campus was move-in day, he has adjusted to the culture of an American college.

“I think it’s a new experience for me to get into the diversity of students here and let them know me and let me know them,” Afiful said.

While some students’ homes are overseas, the recruitment process is not slowed down thanks to technology. With email, Skype and Facebook, international students are able to be more connected.

Most of the responsibility to go through the proper admission steps sits on the student’s shoulders, since many support systems are not in place for them. For example, many students do not have the luxury of a guidance counselor at their high school. Not only are the responsibilities of going through the admission process challenging, but the decision to study overseas takes courage. Adjusting to a new culture while taking on higher education is a lesson all on its own.

“The students that we get to work with are great,” Lewis said. “And anyone who is willing to leave their home to study in another country is very brave to do that.”

As international students look for a school that meets their needs, Drake is there to accommodate. The programs, faculty and many other aspects of Drake contribute to the appeal for those students.

“The administration, the faculty and the students all seem to be on the same page and looking in the same direction in terms of internationalization and outreach and providing a welcoming campus,” Lewis said. “That is a big part of what makes Drake appealing to international students.”

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