Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Growing number of international students call UA home

In a prelude to the Iron Bowl, the University of Alabama ranked above Auburn in a different classification than football. In 2011, more international students chose to study at UA.

According to the Institute of International Education, only 1,022 students chose Auburn while 1,036 chose UA.

“The international student enrollment has grown steadily in the past five years,” said Katie Gilbert, director at Capstone International. “The largest population is currently from China.”

According to the IIE, more than one fourth of foreign students in Alabama are from China. India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Japan follow as the top five countries of origin for incoming students in Alabama.

Gilbert said UA counts 1,156 international students at the University. She said that the difference in numbers is likely due to the number of English Language Institute students that came for the Fall II session in October.

While the total number of students at UA has risen, the statewide inflow of international students has decreased, according to IIE.

This year, Alabama has fallen in rank from No. 30 to No. 31 in the U.S. regarding the number of foreign students in the state. Meanwhile, Georgia ranks No. 12, Louisiana ranks No. 28 and Mississippi sits low at No. 43.

Business and management, engineering, math and computer science and physical and life sciences are the top fields of study for international students, according to the data’s fast fact sheet.

This contrasts American students who study abroad with leading majors in social sciences, business and management, humanities, and fine or applied arts, according to IIE.

The University’s business program was a particular draw for Daolian Qu, a first year student from China. He said he found information about it on the Internet and decided to come here.

He’s also a fan of the school’s football program.

“I always watch the games on TV,” he said.

For others, coming to UA was not a first choice.

“I didn’t choose to come here,” said Sooji Kim, a first year student from Korea. “My school picked Alabama.”

Kim said she made a list of universities with interior design courses and Alabama received the draw. Still, she’s happy she came to UA.

The University isn’t so different from home, and the people are very friendly, Kim said.

Rashed Al’Qallaf, a first-year student at the ELI, agreed. He recently arrived in October and is enjoying UA while living in Sterling Crimson, he said.

“There are friendly people, nice weather and a lot of green,” Al’Qallaf said.

This is the first time he’s been to the States. He said he was given only three universities to choose from to study metallurgical engineering. Alabama won out over South Dakota and Utah.

Still, others were drawn for a variety of other reasons. Je-Young Oh, a sophomore majoring in public relations, said her family moved from Korea to Montgomery in 2008.

Oh said she refused to consider Auburn due to UA’s top communications program. She also chose UA for the in-state tuition and has not regretted being here.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s so pretty and warm- well, not today.”


International Students at UA

2007   733

2008   765

2009   834

2010   987

2011   1,156


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