The impacts made by international students at South Dakota State University are immeasurable. However, NAFSA: Association of International Educators has developed the International Student Economic Value Tool to determine economic contributions made by international students when attending U.S. colleges and universities.
With 1,002 international students attending SDSU in the 2018-19 academic year, the organization states those students created $20.5 million and support 178 jobs in the higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications and health insurance sectors.
“Our international profile has become more prominent. We’re recognized around the world as a great provider of higher education,” said Jon Stauff, SDSU’s assistant vice president for international affairs. “The international members of our campus community have opened the world to our students, who will become great employees and leaders of our state as a result of these experiences with international students and scholars.
Stauff said SDSU has led all South Dakota colleges and universities in attracting international students for nearly 20 years. SDSU’s numbers have nearly tripled in the last decade.
In addition to events such as International Night, SDSU students gain exposure to world cultures through a growing study abroad program. SDSU has more than 20 study abroad programs taking place in 2019-20.
“The presence of international students has made everyone aware of the benefits we gain through exposure to other cultures and ways of thinking. Through study abroad, we’re trying to bring those experiences alive for our students who might not be able to study elsewhere for an entire degree but can study and immerse themselves in a new culture for a short period of time,” said Stauff, who added 501 students participated in study abroad programs in 2018-19.
Off campus, Stauff said SDSU’s international students share cultures with local elementary schools and participate in programs such as Friendship Families, which has local families befriend an incoming international student.