The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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November 17, 2013

International students increasing in Missouri, including MSSU, Crowder

NEOSHO, Mo. — Gustav Kennestig sees a lot of similarities between Southwest Missouri and his home country of Sweden.

The two regions have similar landscapes, he said, and the presence of cows in this area proved to be a comforting reminder of home.

“It’s really good, actually,” said Kennestig, who arrived in Missouri in August to attend Crowder College in Neosho. “I didn’t know what to expect when I came here; I’ve never been in the U.S. before, so I tried to come with an open mind.”

The number of foreign students choosing to study in Missouri is on the rise. More than 17,300 international students — an increase of 7.7 percent over the previous year’s number — enrolled at a Missouri college or university during the 2012-13 academic year, according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2013 report.

The University of Missouri-Columbia enrolled 2,490 students, the largest number of any higher education institution in the state. Other universities drawing high numbers of international students were Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri State University in Springfield, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Lindenwood University in St. Charles, according to the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

More than one-third of international students studying in Missouri are from China. Other countries with high numbers of students in the state are India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan.

Also increasing, by more than 300, was the number of Missouri students studying abroad, to 4,938 during the 2012-13 academic year, according to the report.

“International education fosters an exchange of cultural experiences and ideas on our campuses and in our communities that is crucial in our global society,” said Britta Wright, chairwoman of Study Missouri, a consortium of more than 40 colleges and universities that promotes the state’s academic opportunities to students in other countries and study-abroad opportunities for Missouri students.

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