Over the past ten years, Wheaton’s international student enrollment has increased greatly. In 2005, there were 21 international undergraduate students and 35 international graduate students on campus. Today, Wheaton hosts 66 international undergraduate students and 53 international graduate students. Campus-wide, “missionary kids,” “third-culture kids,” and international undergraduate and graduate students comprise nearly 10 percent of the student population. Of the 2,929 students currently enrolled on campus, 285 come from 46 foreign nations.
“We’ve seen a steady increase in numbers that we can attribute to better student care both through the process of admissions as well as through our Student Development Office,” Becky Wilson, assistant director of undergraduate international student recruitment, says. “In 2005, Wheaton only had one staff person assisting both undergraduate and graduate international students once they arrived on campus. Now we have a team of six who are dedicated to helping international students make a smooth transition to Wheaton and thrive during their time here as students.”
With the goal of creating a more robust network of resources for acclimation and adjustment, the student care team recently planned a comprehensive, eight-week-long course to orient international students to Wheaton. They also host campus events during the year and have established partnerships with College Church and Corinthian Co-op. The undergraduate International Student Programs Office can now be found in a new office space in the Lower Beamer Center, and “Axis,” a student-led leadership group that runs programming of undergraduate international student care was launched last year.
“Continued integration of international students into the larger student body is a major goal,” Kristy McGarvey M.A. ’06, director of graduate student care, says. “We would like to see student leadership grow.”