Ms. Ruth Lopez, senior director of the International Center spoke to the committee. Ms. Lopez reported that the International Center has two separate arms. The first, the “International Center” works with and supports students. The second arm, “International Affairs” supports faculty who want to travel abroad or bring in foreign scholars. The international center has 4 focus areas: International students, Study Abroad, SAILS (Student Affairs International Learning Scholarship) and Programming.
International students: Ms. Lopez noted that the office helps with issues of immigration. She discussed options for traditional degree seeking students (F1) and short term, non-degree, 1 semester or 1 year students (J1). She also reported that if a department is interested in having more international students, her office will help recruit them. She asked for faculty to give them brochures, and they will highlight the departments for interested students. She reported that UNF has scholarships for international students. She noted the ISA scholarship will help international students receive in-state tuition prices and $500 for books. In order to qualify, the student must be full time (12 credit – undergraduate or 9 credit graduate) and they must be on campus or hybrid courses. She noted that students may qualify for other scholarships if they take online courses. Ms. Lopez reported that we also have a Latin America and Caribbean student scholarship (LAC). In order to qualify, the student must be a permanent resident of those countries and not just born there. Ms. Lopez reported that we currently have 302 international students (2%) and that the goal is to have 5% of the student body be international students. The top 3 countries our students come from are Germany, Brazil and China.
Study abroad: They currently have 4 types of study abroad programs: Faculty led, Exchanges, Third Party and Other (research presentation). Committee members asked Ms. Lopez if faculty led study abroad trips have to be connected with courses. She stated there has to be some connection, but noted that faculty led programs are very diverse. Ms. Lopez also noted that there are faculty resources available for course development. They also help with budget development, passport and visa issues and provide a health and safety orientation. Ms. Lopez noted that if a UNF student is going abroad to a conference to present research it is considered study abroad and they can apply for SAILS scholarship. This applies to graduate and undergraduate students. Students may receive $1,500 if it is a short term trip (under 10 weeks) or $2,500 for long term study abroad.
- Ms. Lopez also reported that November 13-17, 2017 is International Education Week and that their office has multiple events scheduled around campus. On Thursday they will have WORLD Fest Village – which is like a bazaar, including free food, and local and international entertainment. On Friday they will have an international research symposium. They will also have a ball, the International Dinner Dance (IDD). It is similar to a prom, where they give out awards to the international students. She noted that past balls have been widely attended, with over 650 students. Faculty and staff are also welcome. The next one will be the first or second Friday in April in the field house.
- Ms. Lopez reported that more information about all of these programs can be found on the International Center’s website: https://www.unf.edu/intlctr/