Northwestern welcomes its largest-ever incoming class of international students this year - 1,700 new students from more than 100 countries around the world. The new class pushes Northwestern’s total international population to 6,500 students, scholars and family members.
Wildcat Welcome takes on added significance for international students who face culture and, often, language barriers as they begin their Northwestern careers.
To combat those issues, staff from the International Office traveled this summer to China, South Korea and India - three of the most highly represented countries of this year’s class - to meet new students on their home ground. In-country orientation sessions, known as NU In, highlighted American academics, culture shock and campus life. More than 500 new students met classmates, alumni and even President Morton Schapiro at the Beijing event.
"By all measures, NU In better prepares our international students and their families,” said Ravi Shankar, director of the International Office. “It not only provides valuable and practical information on acculturation and the Northwestern experience, but it also gives students a chance to network and to begin forming lifetime relationships with each other and the University.”
Once students arrive in Evanston and Chicago, the International Office continues the process of helping smooth the transition by hosting orientation sessions before Wildcat Welcome (Sept. 11-20). Undergraduate events include information sessions on life at Northwestern, tours of Chicago and Evanston and a bonfire on the lakefront. Orientation for graduate students highlights American academic and cultural life with a daylong interactive workshop.
During Wildcat Welcome, international undergraduate students will join the entire Class of 2019 to share their personal stories, learn how to manage college life and explore local neighborhoods. International students make up 10 percent of this year’s freshman class, an all-time high.
The total number of international students joining Northwestern has increased 200 percent over the last decade. In 2006, Northwestern enrolled approximately 550 new international students, compared to 1,700 this year. That dramatic increase reflects key goals of Northwestern’s strategic plan, We Will, by strengthening the campus community through diversity and expanding the University’s impact at home and abroad.