Emily Cassulo

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Video: Local Universities See Increase in International Students

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) - A record number of international students are getting their college degrees in the United States.

New statistics released Monday show a seven percent increase from the year before.

Li Xue is working on her master’s degree in French at Mississippi State.

“I studied English during my undergraduate, so I really want to experience the atmosphere in America,” she said.

Xue is from China, and is one of nearly 820,000 international students to study in the U.S. last school year – a new record.

“I really like it here,” Xue said. “The people here are really welcoming and friendly.”

Workers at Mississippi State and Mississippi University for Women say this isn’t surprising.

Both universities have seen an increase at their schools in the past few years.

MSU has about 1,300 international students who represent 83 countries.

Compare that to 75 countries a few years ago.

“Most of the students indicated that they wanted to be more globally aware, and they really wanted that cultural experience,” said Ra’Sheda Forbes, assistant director for the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center.

Forbes says international students have a lot to offer, and coming here makes them more competitive when they go back home.

She says having them come to the U.S. benefits their American classmates too.

“The likelihood that students are going to go visit 83 different countries is highly unlikely, so here it’s a great opportunity for other students to get to know about the other countries, cultures that exist,” Forbes said.

One reason why Xue says she chose Mississippi State. She graduates in December. As for what’s next?

“I wish I could teach Chinese in the future in America,” Xue said.

And she says that could mean another master’s degree.

Mississippi State is also hosting International Education Week through Friday on campus.

Here is a list of activities for the rest of the week:

Nov. 11–There will be a 5 p.m. presentation in 331 Montgomery Hall by Career Services titled “Getting the Gig: Interview Tips for International Students” and, at 6 p.m. in the union’s third-floor Fowlkes Auditorium, a Muslim Student Association film screening of “Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet.”

Nov. 12–International Dress Day throughout; 4-5:30 p.m., union Starbucks outlet, “Lecture Out Loud with Lokesh: Coffee, Culture, and Conversation. Also, at 6 p.m. in Union Room 231, a Muslim Student Association-sponsored presentation by national motivational speaker Hanif J. Williams titled “Discussion of Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet.” For more, visit www.hanifjwilliams.com.

Nov. 13–2 p.m., Union Room 325, Study Abroad Photo Contest reception

Nov. 14–5-6 p.m., Drill Field, cricket clinic led by members of the Sri Lankan Association and MSU Softball Cricket Club; 5-6:30 p.m., Union Room 227, MSU German Club presentation of “Fasching”; and 7 p.m., union Fowlkes Auditorium, Nepalese Student Association film screening of “Kathmandu Lullaby.”

Nov. 15–11 a.m.-1 p.m., union first floor, classical and modern languages and literatures department presentation of “Taste of Language.”