International student population continues to grow

By Jaime Hillegonds

The number of international students was as low as 15 students in the spring of 2010. That number, however, has been growing steadily each semester since and now reaches a total of 44 international students this year. Since  2012, the international student population has increased by 11 students.

Shoshannah McKinney, associate director of the Institute for TESOL Studies and international admissions counselor,  took over these roles last fall.

“Previously, Jeff Berggren was the international student admissions counselor,” Andy Vaught, advisor to international students, said. “That was one of the many things he would do, but for [McKinney], it’s a primary area of focus for her.”

The role of international admissions counselors was crafted mainly to increase the growth in international students, McKinney said.

“Specifically our focus right now is recruitment from China,” McKinney said.

She travels there throughout the year, spending about two weeks at a time recruiting students and building on the relationships established there.

While China is going to be the recruitment focus for the next few years, she said it is not the only country they are focusing on.

“Our goal is not to have the majority of our international students come from one place,” she said. “We feel like it’s really good to stay committed to … diversity.”

McKinney said that the university has a diverse group with 44 international students coming from 22 different countries. Some students find the university online, others hear about it from alumni and  others are recruited.

One of these international students, freshman Andrew Jared Dean, is the first student from Pakistan to attend the university.

Looking for a digital media arts program at a Christian university, Dean found the university through an online search.

“I thought the program looked really good, and it suited my needs,” he said. “[I also liked] that Huntington is a good Bible-based university. I’m happy because it has turned out better than I expected.”

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