Rutgers University

Increase in International Students Puts Global Face on Rutgers

3b92ed48edb794b44ad4_InternationalStudents.jpg
Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University Zetao Yu, from China and Jodie Shen, from Belize are among the nearly 7,500 international students at Rutgers.
3b92ed48edb794b44ad4_InternationalStudents.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A university known for its diversity is becoming even more global.

In the last five years, Rutgers has seen a steady increase in undergraduate international students, ever since a change in state policy led to more aggressive recruiting abroad. Out of 8,500 new undergraduate students across Rutgers this fall, about 900 came from other countries. Five years ago, the incoming class consisted of only 330 international students.

The students are drawn here for the research opportunities, greater academic freedom or simply a better education than is available at home. They learn about Rutgers at college fairs, from tutors and internet searches and come from about 100 different counties – including China, India, Turkey, Belize, Japan and Canada.

Sign Up for E-News

“I chose Rutgers because I wanted to do undergraduate research,’’ said Chinmay Rele, a sophomore genetics major in Rutgers-New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences. “I want to be in a position where people respect my opinion, and that can only come if I have as much exposure as I can to what I want to do.’’

Rele was born in India, grew up in Dubai and was living in Singapore when he started his college search. His parents hired a firm to help identify schools abroad since opportunities were limited close to home. He considered M.I.T. before settling on Rutgers, where he believed he would find more research choices.

“I love it here,’’ Rele said. “The school spirit is off the chain. And if I get homesick I just have to pick my head out of a book and look at the other Indian people at Rutgers or smell Indian food and it’s good.

Technology makes it possible for international students to text, talk and video chat regularly with their families preventing bouts of homesickness.  And the diversity at Rutgers helps international students feel like they fit in.

“I like the different cultures at Rutgers,’’ said Jodie Shen, a junior nutrition major in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Shen, who was born in Taiwan, grew up in Belize and went to English speaking schools. Being at Rutgers and in New Brunswick, she said, gives her a chance to practice her Mandarin with other students.

“I’m interested in getting to know the people I meet,’’ Shen said. “I want to talk to them, understand them and learn things from them. I think it makes me more open minded and mature.’’

Zetao Yu,from China and Jodie Shen,from Belize are among the nearly 7,500 international students at Rutgers

Rutgers stepped up its international recruitment five years ago after the state ended a policy that penalized the university several thousand dollars for each out-of-state and international student accepted, said Courtney McAnuff, vice president of enrollment management at Rutgers.

The university’s strategic plan, adopted in 2014, called for increasing out-of-state and international student enrollment at Rutgers. The university currently recruits students in 76 cities throughout 20 countries, McAnuff said.

As of this fall Rutgers has nearly 7,500 graduate and undergraduate students across New Brunswick, Camden and Newark. That number is more than double the 3,222 international students at Rutgers in 2011.

The university is expecting to see an even bigger boost in international student enrollment after recently hosting the 2016 conference of the International Association for College Admissions Counseling. About 1,000 high school counselors from 90 different countries visited Rutgers in July and toured the entire university system over four days.

“The counselors might have heard of Rutgers, but they didn’t know about its scope, its size and its diversity,’’ McAnuff said.

“They saw that Rutgers is a school where students won’t feel isolated, won’t be singled out because of their ethnicity or race, will have the ability to find food from their country and  the ability to worship with someone like themselves,’’ he said. “Within an hour of here, you can find people from virtually every country in the world.’’

McAnuff said there are many benefits to the growing number of students from abroad. International students generally pay full tuition that helps the university generate revenue at a time of declining state aid. Rutgers is able to invest some of the money back into providing financial aid for New Jersey residents, McAnuff said.

There are also benefits for the atmosphere it creates on campus, he said.

“I don’t think there is any other university where you can walk around and see the world reflected back at you,’’ McAnuff said.

During the last five years, Rutgers has improved services and amenities across the system for students who come from abroad. This includes keeping most dining halls and residence halls open during school breaks for students who can’t return home.

The Center for Global Services - which is part of the Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA Centers) - developed a special weeklong orientation for international students at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Sessions range from how to open a bank account or maintain legal status to discussions of dealing with culture shock. Similar programs are offered at Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden. 

The Office of International Students at Rutgers-Camden offers an ambassador program and the Office of International Students and Scholar Services at Rutgers-Newark provides mentors to help international students make the transition. The International Friendship Program at Rutgers-New Brunswick also helps students make connections on campus.

“Questions American students don’t think of can be a problem for us,’’ said Sarah Lin, a senior at Rutgers-Camden who was born in Tawain and grew up in China. “Like how to get a phone, how to get a driver’s license, what do I need to find a job or how do I drop a class.’’

Zetao Yu said his residence hall adviser also played a major role in making him feel at home.

“He made me feel like local people could understand me, my English was not that bad and I became more willing to speak out,’’ said Yu, a sophomore mathematics major who came to the United States from China for more academic freedom.

Yu said his English tutor in China had suggested Rutgers for its highly ranked math program. But Yu said he was also interested in Rutgers-New Brunswick for its membership in the Big Ten.

“I think students at Big Ten schools always have a sporting spirit,’’ Yu said. “They are engaging they want to compete with others. I was attracted by this spirit.’’

Dalia Abdalla, a graphic design major who was born in Egypt, choose Rutgers-Newark so she could live with cousins nearby and for internship opportunities she could pursue being close to New York. She knew coming to Rutgers could be difficult for students who didn’t have family to turn to for support, so she joined the mentoring program to help others.

“The United States is different than any other country and I know how overwhelming it can be,’’ Abdalla said. “There can be some culture shock and students get anxious. I feel it’s very important for someone to be there for you from day one when you are in a strange country away from your family.’’

The growing global nature of Rutgers benefits all students throughout the university, said Urmi Otiv, director of the Center for Global Services.

“Education is not complete today unless it has a global component,’’ Otiv said.

“When you step into the global market you don’t know who your boss or colleagues are going to be, or what part of the world they are going to be from, and if you are not comfortable being able to interact with them, it’s going to hurt you big time,’’ she said. “We are providing students with experiences they need to step into the world and succeed.’’  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - February 23, 2018




The Jaffe Briefing Is going on Winter Break, returning Monday, March 5


OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

 NEWARK - The Archdiocese of Newark is somehow making national news, after Cardinal Joseph Tobin sent out a tweet Wednesday that raised one or two eyebrows. Tobin tweeted "Nighty-night, baby. I love you," Hmm, people asked. Now who ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 22, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - If New Jersey raises the sales tax back to 7 percent, will anyone notice? That's the big question from New Jersey Policy Perspective, which questions last year's gimmick that cut the sales tax rate to 6.625 percent. NJ 101.5reports that tax cut equates to $2 a week in "savings" for middle-class families. Meanwhile, this ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 21, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON THE HIGHWAY - Authorities were frantically looking into a "mystery tar" that appeared suddenly on cars driving along I-295 in South Jersey, causing tires to gel with the road. They quickly realized that a stretch of the highway in Salem County was smeared with liquid asphalt, leaked from a tanker and causing dozens of cars to get ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 20, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE - Jittery parents are sending their jittery kids to jittery schools this morning, as classes resume after a President's Day weekend filled with wall-to-wall news coverage about gun safety. School districts statewide have been reporting threats - all thankfully not credible - as district leaders are on the highest alert. East Brunswick, for ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 16, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

E STREET - While a tired nation is demanding gun control (yet again), Springsteen guitarist Stevie Van Zandt is having none of it. No stranger to political opinions, the New Jersey icon tweeted "What happened to us? We are averaging 2 school shootings per week AND WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT!" Many tone-deaf politicians on Capitol Hill ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 15, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - As state lawmakers are set to announce a bill at 11 a.m. to decriminalize pot - an issue that has consumed the Statehouse -  the Record is reporting on an often-ignored issue: the state's ridiculously antiquated liquor laws. For example, supermarkets in the state can only have up to two liquor licenses, stemming ...

Trees Have Sex? Rutgers Researchers Have All the Answers

February 22, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A few years ago, Rutgers researcher Jennifer Blake-Mahmud was working on a botany project in Virginia when colleagues pointed out a striped maple, a common tree in the understory of mountain forests from Nova Scotia to Georgia. 

 

“They told me, ‘We think it switches sex from year to year, but we don’t know why,’ and I said, ...

Rutgers Union Rally Planned Friday for $15 Minimum Wage

New Brunswick, NJ - On Friday, February 23, student groups, a coalition of Rutgers unions, and representatives from campuses across the nation will hold a rally and march on College Avenue to demand a $15 minimum wage.

The action, initiated by the Rutgers chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) and the Rutgers American Association of University Professors - American Federation of ...

RU Students Rejoice: Starbucks Reopens at The Yard@College Avenue

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In what many consider to be the biggest news of the day on the Rutgers University campus, the Starbucks at The Yard@College Avenue has once again reopened.

Officials with the New Brunswick Development Corp. reported this morning that the popular coffeehouse is open "for good."

The Starbucks at The Yard@College Avenue, located at the corner of College ...

Valeski: Placing Police Officers in Schools was Planned for Two Years

February 21, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - In the midst of a media firestorm Tuesday, Dr. Victor Valeski, East Brunswick Superintendent of Schools, fielded questions from local and national journalists regarding the placement of armed police officers inside each of the district's K-12 buildings.  The move seemed to many as a "knee-jerk" reaction to the fear generated by the massacre of ...

Shouts of Racial Slurs Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

OPINION

Letter to the Editor: Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 15, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

Somerset Patriots Sign Frontier League All-Star RHP Randy McCurry

February 17, 2018

The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of right-handed relief pitcher Randy McCurry for the 2018 season.

“I’m excited to play in the Atlantic League this year,” said McCurry. “It’ll be a transition for me but I am ready to face some really good competition and help the team win.”

McCurry enters his first season with the Somerset Patriots and ...