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November 13, 2000

The World finds a home at Emory

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles that will explore internationalism at Emory, particularly
the role of international students and scholars on campus. If you would like to comment on this subject,
please send an e-mail to Elizabeth Kurylo at or call the Office of International Affairs
at 404-727-7504.

"More than 1,150 international students and scholars call Emory home this year, coming from such faraway places as Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and Brazil.

Continuing a trend of the past several years, the majority of internationals are from Asia, with China, South Korea, India and Japan being the top countries represented.

Right now, there are 731 international students and 421 international scholars on campus, according to figures compiled by the office of International Students and Scholars Programs (ISSP). Some are here on exchange programs, others are seeking degrees. The number of scholars is likely to increase, as some are short term and arrive at different times during the year.

The college’s freshman class has 50 international students from 28 countries—including Turkey, Libya and Peru—but most internationals are doing graduate-level work in scientific fields. In fact, the graduate school draws the most international students, with 257 enrolled this year. The business school ranks second with 153, and the college is third with 116.

Chinese are the largest group of internationals at Emory, with 111 students and 100 scholars. ISSP Director Lelia Crawford said it is not unusual for research universities to have their largest group of international students from China. “Many of them are in the sciences,” she said. “Science programs in China are very strong.”

Emory has seen a steady increase of internationals on campus in the past decade. The number of international students has doubled from 354 in 1990 to more than 700 today, and the number of scholars increased at a similar rate during that period. Crawford said she expects that trend to continue as the new research facilities on campus come online.

ISSP provides prearrival information to internationals and offers orientation sessions once they get here. The sessions cover information about American culture, the U.S. education system and basic living information, including how to open a bank account, get a Social Security card and find a place to live. ISSP also offers immigration counseling.

Stefan Pencea is a graduate student in physics. The native of Romania has been here since August of 1996. He, his wife and daughter have had a good experience, although the first year was rough, especially for his wife, who stayed at home.

He said it was difficult to find affordable housing with his limited stipend, especially after the University Apartments, which had been home to many internationals, were torn down. Despite the problems, Emory “has been a good place for me and also for my family,” Pencea said.

University Apartments Manager Kathy Clark said the old units, especially the garden apartments, were “truly a global village,” and she hopes the new UA complex will capture that feeling again when they are completed by the summer of 2002.

Currently, 59 international scholars are here with two or more dependents, according to ISSP. A support group for spouses of internationals meets every Wednesday at the Emory Episcopal Center on Clifton Road. Former School of Theology student Christina Dondero started the group four years ago, partly because she grew up overseas and knows how hard it is to adjust to a new culture.

She helps women enroll their children in school and find English classes. She also advises them on inexpensive shopping and entertainment, because many live frugally. The group also is a way for the women to make new friends.

“Their husbands are usually very, very busy with school, and the women can feel very isolated and lonely,” Dondero said. “I’m interested in helping them have an easier transition. I want their experience here to be good.”


Back to Emory Report Nov. 13, 2000