This story originally appeared in UCLA Today, a discontinued publication.

UCLA a mecca for international students, study abroad

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UCLA's academic programs and its stellar reputation continue to make the campus a popular destination for international students, according to UCLA officials and a report released this week from an independent organization.
 
The door to an international education frequently swings out as well as in. More UCLA students also are leaving the campus to study abroad despite the financial slump.
 
According to the 2010 Open Doors report issued by the Institute of International Education, UCLA ranked seventh among U.S. universities for the number of international students it enrolled during the 2009-10 academic year, up from eighth place.
 
Gaerlan.counseling
Barbara Gaerlan, assistant director for the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, talks to students about the opportunities available at UCLA for international studies. Photo by Oliver Chien.
The campus was third in the nation for the number of its own students it sent abroad to study in 2008-09, up from fifth, according to the report published by the institute with support from the U.S. State Department.
 
The only UC campus ranking in the top 10 in either category, UCLA saw an increase in its international-student population of 5,590 to 5,685. China sent the largest number of students to UCLA, followed by South Korea, Taiwan, India and Japan.
 
"The quality of our academic programs and reputation, as well as our location in Los Angeles and on the Pacific Rim, gives UCLA a competitive edge in bringing the best and brightest students from overseas," said Bob Ericksen, director of UCLA's Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars.
 
And the number of international students at UCLA will likely continue to rise. UCLA’s single biggest source of nonresident students continues to be international students at the transfer level. For fall 2009, 389 international students enrolled as transfers at UCLA. This fall, that number rose to around 520.
 
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Newly arrived international students attend an orientation at Bradley International Hall.
Also this year, UCLA undergraduate admissions officers are making a concerted effort to recruit more undergraduate students in Asia. A recruiting trip to Shanghai earlier this year was followed by student recruitment tours to Osaka, Japan; Seoul, Korea; Singapore; and Hong Kong to meet with prospective students and their parents.
 
Increasing the number of international students offers multiple benefits, UCLA officials have said. Not only is it important to expose all students to the cultural and intellectual diversity that students from other countries bring to the campus, but the added revenue from international and out-of-state students helps maintain access to and the quality of a UCLA education for all students in the face of drastic funding cuts.
 
UCLA is not the only campus enrolling more international students. The annual Open Doors report showed that the number of international students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities last year reached 690,923, which is a 3 percent increase and an all-time high. The growth was driven primarily by a 30 percent jump in Chinese student enrollment.
 
As for the number of U.S. students going abroad to study in 2008-09, the Open Doors report found that, for the first time in the 25 years those numbers have been tracked, there was a slight drop, possibly because of the recession.
 
Despite this trend, UCLA managed to post a small overall increase of less than two percent, or a total of 2,371 students.
 
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International programs counselor Danilo Bonilla advises a student interested in studying abroad. Bonilla is with UCLA's International Education Office.
Haydn Dick, executive director of UCLA International Education Office, said UCLA's commitment to keeping the cost of study abroad programs as low as possible and increasing outreach efforts across campus have played a large part in keeping UCLA's study abroad participation rates strong.
 
This week, for example, International Education Week took place on campus and featured a series of events, including an international opportunities fair, aimed at informing students about study abroad programs and other international opportunities such as fellowships.
 
Keeping with this theme, on Thursday, Nov. 18, alumnus Terry Kramer, who built a successful career as an international business leader, will meet with prospective study abroad students to discuss why international education is important. Kramer and his wife, Suzan, also are offering $2,000 scholarships to fund 10 study abroad students each year.
 
More information on International Education Week can be found here.
 
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