Meeting challenges for international students and scholars

International Education Week Nov. 16-20

This week, the Institute of International Education (IIE) shared Fall International Enrollments Snapshot Reports as part of their annual Open Doors Report. Unsurprisingly, the total number of international students studying at U.S. universities, whether from within the U.S. or online from abroad, decreased as did fall enrollments of new international students. 

Amid visa delays, travel bans and other proposed restrictions, international students, staff and faculty have faced a challenging year. 

“We are grateful for the international students, faculty and staff who continued to engage with us and give us hope while they were dealing with so much.” Kelia Hubbard, director, International Student & Scholar Services

Throughout the pandemic, the University’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSS) has kept up with rapidly changing guidance from various U.S. Government agencies affecting international students, scholars and employees. ISSS ensures Wake Forest international populations stay informed of important updates through emails, town hall discussions and a regularly amended FAQ page.

 ISSS has responded with programs to support the global community at Wake Forest. Some new initiatives include:

  • WFU academic programs in Beijing and Shanghai for first-year and continuing Chinese students. Wake Forest alumni residing full time in China offer another lens into being a Demon Deacon by setting up alumni networking events and providing opportunities for mentorship for these students.
  • Support and advocacy for students, faculty and staff affected by the challenging uncertainty of immigration policies prohibiting travel and work to the United States.
  • Social opportunities including pairing first-year students with upperclassmen in mentorship relationships and organizing chats with campus leaders. 
  • For international students who are unable to travel to campus, Wake Forest’s online classes enable those in countries near and far to stay on track by offering courses that fulfill requirements for graduation.

“This year has been a very challenging year for our international community. Many have had to watch from a distance as their communities managed the COVID crisis, unable to travel home, and dealing with constant concern for their families and friends. There were students who could not return to the U.S. and students who struggled to get home,” said Kelia Hubbard, director, International Student & Scholar Services.

Wake Forest has been recognized by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and Diversity Abroad for increasing access to global experiences for all students. Nearly 81% of Wake Forest undergraduates received credit for study abroad in the 2018-2019 academic year. The University has also earned a “Gold Seal of Inclusive Excellence” from Diversity Abroad. The seal is awarded based on a global equity and inclusion assessment that looks at support for underrepresented students to study abroad among participating higher education institutions.

About International Education Week
International Education Week (IEW), November 16-20, 2020, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange across the U.S. and worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment. A complete list of Wake Forest’s IEW events and activities can be found here.

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