Consortium including Maryville University launches new website devoted to international education in Missouri
ST. LOUIS – Maryville University is part of a consortium of nearly 40 colleges and universities launching a new website to promote international education in Missouri. The Study Missouri consortium began in 2009 to encourage opportunities for international students to study in Missouri and for domestic students to study abroad.
The new website profiles international students and looks at why they chose to study in Missouri. The site also profiles Missouri students about the value of their experiences abroad. Students and parents contemplating study abroad will find resources and links to Study Missouri member institutions and sponsors. A calendar of events lists international education meetings and events around the state. The new website is available at www.studymissouri.net
The goals of Study Missouri fit well with Maryville’s strong commitment to international education, which draws strength from relationships with other institutions. Maryville’s Director of the Center for Global Education James E. Harf said, “Maryville University’s global mission is to internationalize the university and prepare our students to become globally ready, armed with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to function effectively in today’s globalized society.” Maryville’s campus and overseas programs encourage students to appreciate the diversity of the human condition and to develop the desire and capacity to become engaged in addressing the issues of a global society, Harf explained.
Maryville administers a comprehensive, short-term study abroad program led by faculty on behalf of a seven-institution consortium called the Missouri Study-Abroad Inter-Collegiate Consortium (MOSAIC). Harf explained MOSAIC’s mission is to provide a range of summer programs, staffed by faculty from member institutions. It is open to all collegiate students, from member institutions and other colleges throughout the United States. Faculty members from MOSAIC institutions offer the courses. Maryville administers the programs as well as the academic transcripts for MOSAIC. For summer 2013, faculty-led programs include Oxford/London (England), Limerick (Ireland), Florence (Italy), and Madrid (Spain).
Other schools in MOSAIC include Central Methodist University, Columbia College, Culver-Stockton College, Fontbonne University, Missouri Valley College and Millersville University.
On campus, Maryville University is working to expand its international reach. The University’s new Director of International Admissions Kirstin Kahaloa recently returned from a trip to the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
She is part of a new group of admissions officials from eight schools, calling itself the Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota (MIM) group. Kahaloa traveled to the Philippines independently on behalf of Maryville, but visited the countries with the MIM tour, so that overseas schools could learn more about several Midwest institutions at once.
Currently, Maryville has more than 90 international students, with China, Saudi Arabia and Kenya as the three top international countries that students come from.
Kahaloa notes that a strong presence of international students helps shape the campus. “Students learn about the world by having international students here. In a globalized world, students need to know how to communicate with others from around the world.”
Other schools involved with the MIM group include the University of Missouri, Truman State University, Saint Louis University, St. Olaf College, St. Catherine’s University, the University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College.
The number of international students in Missouri grew to more than 16,000 in 2012, up 6.3 percent over last year, according to the just-released Open Doors Report. Missouri is 13th in the nation in the number of international students enrolled in the state’s colleges and universities. More than a quarter of international students studying in Missouri are from China, followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Nepal/Japan. Most international students pay full tuition at Missouri institutions. Their total expenditures in Missouri last year were estimated to be $417.8 million.
The number of Missouri students who studied abroad declined slightly, from just over 5,000 to 4,650.
Commissioner of Higher Education David Russell says international education pays big dividends to students who take advantage of it. “Studying in a foreign land enriches you academically, culturally and personally,” Russell said. “It stretches your intellectual capacity to read and converse in a foreign language, gives you a deeper understanding of other cultures and values, and expands your ability to adapt to new situations. Increasingly, employers look for employees who can bring that global familiarity and comfort level.”
Chad Stebbins, president of the Study Missouri board of directors, said the redesigned site is a great user-friendly tool. “The new website can help international students choose the college that fits their academic aspirations and pocketbook,” Stebbins said. “Missouri students who want to study abroad can also use the website to find Study Missouri member institutions that offer high quality academic programs anywhere in the world.”