Study shows international students California dreamin’

By Sandra Siagian

Staff writer

Published: Monday, November 24, 2008

What is it that attracts so many students to Cal State Long Beach? Is it the location, the academics or the reputation?

For locals, convenience of the campus location is probably their No. 1 factor for choosing CSULB. For international students, the decision is based generally on one or all three factors.

Whatever the reason may be, international students are flocking to CSULB in record numbers. This semester alone, CSULB enrolled 1,341 international students coming from 78 countries.

Japan topped the list with 273 students, followed closely by India with 266 students.

For Rowan Ozols, senior construction engineering major from Australia, his decision to attend CSULB was purely for academic reasons.

“The curriculum looked good and the selection of subjects was so diverse,” Ozols said. “The school had a good reputation as well, compared with other schools I had to choose from.”

For Xiangzhen Lu, a junior journalism major from China, his decision was based on the lifestyle and living standards.

“I chose to come here for the weather and climate,” Lu said. “Also the primary living standards were high and the schedules were more flexible than what I normally have back home in Beijing.”

Both Ozols and Lu are here for one semester only and will be leaving in January, but some students have fallen into routine with their lifestyle here and have chosen to extend their stay.

Sophie Peacock, a junior business marketing major from New Zealand, was only supposed to stay for one semester, but now she is intent on stretching her stay out for the full year.

“I love it here and I don’t feel like I am ready to leave,” Peacock said. “I chose to come to this campus because it was close to L.A. and it was such a beautiful area. I’m just waiting now to see if I am successful to stay for another semester.”

In a report released by the Institute of International Education, total foreign student numbers have risen 7 percent nationwide with California ranking in as the top host state.

USC ranked as the nation’s top host university with the largest number of international students attending, while CSULB came in at 85th out of 153 campuses nationwide with 1,000-plus students.

With reports that international students in the CSU system may be cut with the impaction of enrolment, due to the state budget cuts, reports released by NAFSA, the Association of International Educators stated that California actually brought in more than $2 billion dollars in state revenue from international students, contributing to the nationwide total of $15 billion in revenue from foreign students.

David Dowel, vice provost, director of strategic planning and a professor of psychology, said the state budget will definitely affect CSULB’s international enrolments in the future.

“We will have to make higher admission criteria for our area students, including out-of-state [students],” Dowel said. “We have to limit the numbers but we still remain open for international applications.”

Not everyone agrees with the state’s decision to cut higher-education funding, including Artha Salgado, the president of the International Student Association, who believes the only way CSUs can make money is through international students.

“I think that the last thing that the state should be cutting back on would be essential services and education,” Salgado said. “If the CSU cuts down on enrolling international students, they will merely apply to other states and give other universities the money and the hard work that they would otherwise invest in the CSUs.”

One thing is definite, international students are attracted to California whether the state budget cuts allow them to come or not because of its projected atmosphere.

Stephen Rozier, a senior business major from France, definitely based his decision for CSULB on the lifestyle.

“I just wanted to learn how to surf,” Rozier said about choosing CSULB as his exchange destination. “I am now living five minutes away from the beach and can spend my free time between classes surfing and swimming. Where else will you ever get the chance to experience this? You would never be able to do this in France.”