International Student Enrollment Increased


Photo by Sarvesh Patel

The International Student Organization at the University of Central Missouri gathers for a game night. Photo submitted by Sarvesh Patel

  Although international student enrollment had dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 782 students in fall 2019 and 621 students during fall 2020, international student enrollment has increased this semester, and the students are adjusting to life in the United States at the University of Central Missouri.

  Emily de Melo, assistant director of graduate & international student services, said that 1,427 international students have enrolled this fall.

  “During the COVID times, they were having trouble getting here without visas, and so now things are opening up again, they’re able to get visas,” de Melo said. “We are definitely seeing more students now than last year. In fact, we are seeing more of an increase because we’re seeing students who wanted to be here last year and the ones who were already planning to come this year.”

  Freshman business studies major Sonal Jha is from Nepal and recently settled in Warrensburg. She said that she chose UCM because it’s a small school and her main objective is to get a degree.

  “As an international student, my main priority is to get a degree,” Jha said. “So, I chose Warrensburg because it’s not a big city, and it has limited distractions.”

  Jha said she loves the people of Warrensburg and feels that she can talk to anyone of any age.

  “In our country, they are separated by age group and everyone treats everyone differently, but here I realized that everyone is treated equally,” Jha said. “Professors talk to us like a friend.” 

  Senior psychology major Prince Haykal is from Indonesia and said UCM is the perfect size for him.

  “It’s not too big, not too small, and it’s the right amount of people where I’m not overwhelmed,” Haykal said.

  Haykal said that his father graduated from UCM, and he wanted to go to school here and experience college life in the United States. 

  “I like the faculty,” Haykal said. “I like how they like to show off the student and faculty relationship, because I think they’re right about that.” 

  Senior automotive technology major Sarvesh Patel is from India and chose Missouri because his family members live in different states throughout the U.S.

  “I have quite a lot of relatives who live around the United States, but I wanted to live away from them,” Patel said. “I chose Missouri because it’s right in the middle of the U.S.”

  Patel said that he wanted to go to school in a small town then live in a big city when he works. He said the university helps him become more connected with other international students, especially with the student organizations on campus. 

  “The clubs won’t really be a thing in a city because people would just go to the city clubs, but because there is not a lot of stuff to do in Warrensburg that gives us the opportunity to meet new people,” Patel said.