Find Events Find People Find Jobs Find Sites Find Help Index


February 12, 2001

IAC examines support for
visitors from abroa

Elizabeth Kurylo is communications coordinator for the
Office of International Affairs (OIA)

Several years ago, President Bill Chace made internationalism one of Emory’s main priorities, and the University adopted an internationalization strategy. The Institute for Comparative and International Studies was established, the curriculum in the college was revised to add core requirements in area studies/non-Western civilizations and foreign language. Study abroad programs expanded as well.

Today, the University is in the second phase of its international development, and the International Affairs Council (IAC) is looking at what steps should be taken to continue the significant progress made so far.

The IAC, which includes representatives from each of Emory’s nine schools, is conducting a study of support services for international visitors, students and scholars. Questions focus on visa and tax issues, housing and transportation, English language assistance, and other subjects. The council is investigating how both Emory and its peer institutions provide such services to determine how improvements could be made.

The University has seen increased growth 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.

While most have a good experience here, those in the graduate and professional schools struggle in the beginning with some things that Americans take for granted, such as arranging phone service, setting up bank accounts and connecting utilities. And some international scholars who come for short visits experience difficulties being paid because of paperwork problems.

“I had difficulties in the beginning with all the document organization, and I had many questions about simple things in daily life,” said Amira Kaminer, a professor of drama, theater and creative education at Tel-Aviv University who taught at Emory last fall. “I needed more information about the bank and the telephone, for instance. It could be easier if I had someone official to help me instead of asking for favors.”

Despite those struggles, Kaminer said she learned a lot from her colleagues in the departments of Middle Eastern Studies and Jewish Studies. “They gave me the feeling that I was a part of a team,” she said.

International visitors aren’t the only ones who face obstacles when they arrive. Administrators who help them get settled often struggle with the complex paperwork that must be completed.

Despite those problems, Emory benefits from having internationals on campus. Internationals make Emory more interesting and share with the community a different view of the world, said Scott Allen, director of international recruitment for undergraduates.

“From what I’ve heard from faculty, the classroom is enriched with a different perspective,” said Allen, who has traveled to Europe, the Middle East and Latin America to recruit students.

The IAC also is studying the role and structure of the Halle Institute and the role of the Office of International Affairs.

Editor’s Note
: This is the third in a series of articles about international students and scholars at Emory. If you would like to comment on this subject, please send e-mail to Kurylo at or call OIA at 404-727-7504.


Back to Emory Report Feb. 12, 2001