International students on the rise at U of I

CHAMPAIGN—Thousands of students will start the school year at the University of Illinois Monday, many of them traveling thousands of miles just to make it to class.

“I was originally born in Shanghai and then I spent some time in Canada and now I'm here at UIUC,” said graduate student Chenni Wang.

“I came all the way from India just to experience the American college life,” said freshman Krishna Mittal.

“The incoming freshman class is actually 50 percent international students,” said Natalie Mullen, who runs International Student Connections, a group aimed at easing the transition to the states. “There are more than 10,000 international students at the U of I.”

Making it the school with the most international students out of any public university in the county. For these kids, the college experience is not just about cracking open books, but also breaking down cultural barriers.

“There's a lot of support within the student organization to help students adjust,” said Wang. “I think one thing that I myself would like to see more of is integration between the international student population and the domestic student population.”

 Groups like International Student Connections are trying to make that happen.

“International Student Connections is really popular now,” said Mullen. “Both international and domestic want to get together and understand each other and it's more of a comfortable environment rather than meeting each other in campus or randomly on the quad.”

Something the foreign freshmen are seeing first hand.

“I thought that Indians would be like segregated, but that's not the case,” said Mittal. “It's like every community is equally involved in all the things and all of them try to interact with each other.”

Making diversity a defining quality of this student body.
Current Conditions