CSUN foreign exchange and international student enrollment rates are on the rise amidst enrollment freezes on other groups of incoming students.
The number of enrolled foreign exchange students for the Fall 2012 semester has increased by about 3 percent since Spring 2012 and 11 percent since Fall 2010.
Enrollment statistics for the Fall 2012 semester report that 2,008 international students are currently registered at CSUN, and last year, 1,944 students were enrolled.
Figures from the CSU reflect slightly lower estimated expenses by about $280.
CSUN is guaranteed to collect full funds from international students because these students are “not eligible for financial aid since they have to show proof of funds in order to be able to attend a U.S. institution,” said Marta Lopez, assistant director of international programs.
International students are being admitted during the spring 2013 semester, but many other groups of students, like first-time freshmen and transfers, are not being admitted again until fall 2013, and there will be restrictions on how many are accepted, according to the CSUN admissions website.
The difference between foreign exchange students and international students is that foreign exchange students come for a short amount of time, usually one or two semesters, and international students come to CSUN to obtain a degree, Lopez said.
Though the cost is expensive, students pursue studying abroad because it introduces them to new cultures, said Justine Zhixin Su, coordinator of international programs and director of the CSUN China Institute.
“This (increased international student enrollment) is a general trend for higher education. The world is becoming smaller, and people in different countries need to learn from each other,” Su said.
Enrollment statistics for the Fall 2012 semester show that most of CSUN’s international and exchange students come from China (425 students) and Saudi Arabia (398 students).
The International and Exchange Student Center at CSUN hosts a coffee get-together every Friday. Samuel Dette, an exchange student from Berlin, Germany, attends the coffee hour when he has the availability.
“I’m here (at CSUN) for a full year, but I’m planning on staying longer,” Dette said. “There is a productive energy and emphasis on being active here. It’s never chill- there’s too much to do.”
One thing that Dette does not like is how expensive the school is. He is studying music with an emphasis in media composition, but schooling here is completely different.
Amy Lai, a foreign exchange student from Wales, majors in chemistry and is here primarily to focus on research to help with her non-major degree in the United Kingdom.
The cost of studying abroad through CSUN’s foreign exchange program also affects Lai.
“We get money to study at home, but not here,” she said. “There are loads of student benefits in the U.K, but everything here is expensive. Here they look after students less and actually take advantage of us.”
One of Lai’s examples was that the Freudian Sip’s prices are comparable to Starbucks, but in Wales, there are student discounts for coffee.
Studying abroad has been a learning experience for Lai because she is understanding more about American culture.
“We are so close to LA, the land of opportunity. There are lifestyle differences, chilled out people, and a wider selection of foods,” she said. “It’s more than just learning about the culture. It opens horizons when you move to a different country.”
The foreign exchange program is looking to inspire CSUN students to study abroad, and there are travel scholarships available, including four full scholarships from the China Scholarship Council Award Program, that cover all tuition and living expenses.
“We want to create more opportunities,” Su said. “We hope we can encourage more students to study abroad.”