International student count grows sharply in past three years

Since 2009, the number of international students coming to study at St. Edward’s University has more than doubled, said Bill Clabby, the associate vice president for Global Initiatives.

“From the very beginning, with Father Edward Sorin coming to Austin from France to found our university, St. Edward’s University has been an expression of international interest and diversity,” Clabby said.

The number of international students was 140 in 2009 and has currently risen to 311 in 2012.

 “Last year, we experienced a significant increase in the number of international students on campus [and] we are hoping to welcome roughly the same number of international students this fall and perhaps more,” Clabby said.

We also currently have students from over 40 counties studying at St. Edward’s, Clabby said.

“We welcome international students at St. Edward’s University, knowing that they help all of our community understand and become a more integral part of the world in which we live,” said Clabby. “Beyond welcoming international students to our campus, we are working hard to include them into the fabric of our lives here on campus, both in and out of the classroom.”

International students often come to St. Edward’s for collegiate sports, academics, or even both.

One international student, Abdullah Mutairi, came to study at St. Edward’s from Saudi Arabia. Mutairi is currently a computer science major, but is changing to biology.

Mutairi is a freshman and this is his first semester at St. Edward’s and in the United States.

“I don’t have a specific reason for coming to this university. I was searching for a college that accepted my English. Also I wanted to be here in Texas,” Mutairi said.

Mutairi said that being an international student was hard initially, but getting to know people and doing what they do made the change easier.

Mutairi said he is getting adjusted and enjoying living in Austin, Texas.

“I really like the style of the living here, how it’s organized, the streets, and the people who chat with you on the bus. And I chose to come to Texas because the weather is close to my country’s weather,”  Mutairi said.

Another international student came from Queensland, Australia. Kate Orkild is currently a junior kinesiology major with an emphasis in pre-physical therapy.

Orkild chose St. Edward’s because of the Women’s Head Soccer Coach, Nick Cowell.

Orkild also chose to come here because she had heard good things about Austin and liked the small class sizes at the university. 

She also said that the weather in Texas is similar to where she is from.

“Texas is the most like Australia,” said Orkild.

The hardest part about being an international student for Orkild was that she had never studied biology, physics, or chemistry prior to coming to college abroad, but Orkild said that her teachers have been supportive.

Orkild is usually able to go back to Queensland over Christmas break and during the summer, but flights were so expensive this year that she will be going an entire 11 months without seeing her family.

Orkild also encourages other international students to stick with it, because it is worth it. She was very homesick at first, but never gave up.

“It’s really hard to be an international student, but it’s really worth it,” Orkild said.