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SF State No. 1 for international students

November 19, 2007

Photo of Haruka and Saki, international exchange students from JapanSF State's academic reputation and stellar student services have made the University a welcoming destination for international students. The University boasts more international students than any other master's degree-granting institution in the country, according to 2006-2007 figures released by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The annual rankings released on Nov. 12 are based on the most recently completed 2006-2007 academic year when 2,496 international students attended SF State. This marks the third consecutive year the University has ranked first for international students after ranking second from 2000 to 2004. SF State's international student population grew 23.8 percent from the previous year -- more than seven times the national growth over the same period.

SF State has enhanced its global reputation thanks to strong academic and outreach programs, said Yenbo Wu, associate vice president for international education. Since fall 2005, the University conducted a concerted effort to promote SF State by participating in college fairs across the globe and increasing the University's profile, especially in Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea.

Wu said the University's reputation in the international community continues to grow -- something he noted during a recent trip to China. "When we visited a university and met with some of the deans, one of them said, ' you have a big name here,'" Wu said. "That was our first time at that university."

Faculty make regular trips to China -- one of the fastest-growing countries for producing international students -- to deliver papers and interact with universities there. The University has also arranged recruiting trips to South Korea, Japan, India and countries in the Middle East. "We have been going out pretty aggressively to inform these students of the opportunities of receiving a high-quality education here," Wu said.

SF State was once again a top destination for students from Asia. Japan topped the list with 387 students, followed by Taiwan (152), South Korea (121), China (114), Mexico (98), Hong Kong (74) and India (74).

Business remained the most popular field of study (623), followed by computer science (78), biology (61), psychology (56) and engineering (54).

SF State staff help students adjust to the Bay Area with a weeklong introduction to campus and plenty of academic support. "I wanted to come to either New York or San Francisco for the diversity and culture," said Australian exchange student Anna Zhu. "Academics-wise the university has really eased me into studying here."

Wu said the diplomatic, economic and educational future of California and the United States depends on the continued growth of international education. Last year, international students contributed nearly $2.2 billion to California's economy. Their long-term contributions to the state will be even greater. "These are the people who will be doing business and becoming friends and buying U.S. goods," Wu said. "The ties we've created through these international students are tremendous. If Californians do not know languages and cultures of other countries and have friends in other countries, we'll be doing ourselves a huge disservice."

-- Michael Bruntz


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Last modified January **, 2007 by University Communications