Quad Cities continue to attract international students

Enrollment rates increase locally, slow nationwide

DAVENPORT, Iowa - The international student enrollment rate is slowing down, according to the 2017 Open Doors survey.

More than 900,000 students from other countries are on American college campuses. That's only about seven-thousand more than last year -- making it the smallest increase since 2009. 

However, universities in the Quad Cities, like Augustana College and St. Ambrose University, report the opposite. 

Aweys Ahmed Aweys said he feels right at home at St. Amrbose University, even though he's thousands of miles away from his family in Somalia.

"I had people helping out every step that I need to take and whatever I need to do," Aweys said. "Everything has been smooth so far."  

But between the the high cost, paperwork and crime, he almost didn't come. 

"I was coming here. I was really afraid and I was nervous because I didn't know how the things are going to be here," Aweys said. 

But he decided to make the leap. Now he's enjoying his international education, and he's not the only one. 

St. Ambrose University has enrolled nearly 40 more students from abroad this year, bringing their total to 134. St. Ambrose International Admissions Coordinator Matt Rogalski said people are attracted to the location.

"Not being located in a big city, for a certain type of student -- depending on what they're looking for -- is definitely a benefit," he said. "There's the safety aspect."  

Augustana College nearly doubled their international enrollment from last year, with more than 100 enrolled this year. They say quad cities colleges offer things bigger schools can't.

"One of the things that we find is that many of the international students don't have an appreciation for a liberal arts college like Augustana," Augustana Vice President of External Relations Kent Barnds.

For Aweys, the Quad Cities is the perfect place for him to get his biology degree. It's the first step toward reaching his goal of becoming a doctor. 

"I'm so excited to finish school, which is 12 years, but I think I'll get through it," he said.  

But after that, he said he'll finally head home to Somalia. 

"I'm excited to go work and help my people," Aweys said.  


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