How Miami’s regional campuses are growing work with international students

The recent national honor won by Miami University for its inclusion efforts toward international students isn’t limited to the school’s main Oxford campus.

Miami’s regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown also have offices, programs and activities designed to help international students earning their degrees at those Miami schools feel embraced.

Last week, Miami was recognized as one of five national winners of the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

The award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that are making significant progress toward internationalization, especially those using innovative and creative approaches, according to officials from the NAFSA: Association of International Educators, which sponsors the award.

There are more than 2,900 foreign-born undergraduate and graduate students on Miami’s main campus, 202 at the Middletown campus and 34 international students at the Hamilton campus taking part in the schools’ English Language Centers.

International students are increasingly a focus at Miami’s regionals, said Cheryl Young, assistant provost of global initiatives and eLearning, and the students there from around the world also provide educational and social opportunities for domestic students.

“The Miami University regional campuses have internationalization among their goals and in their strategic plan, recognizing the value and importance of internationalization of higher education for all students,” Young said.

“The English Language Center has a positive impact on not only the students in the program, but also all students at the regional campuses. The regionals are also leading in efforts toward virtual exchange opportunities for students - a way for students to have a global experience in their classroom in Ohio,” she said.

In the last year, the international students participated in a variety of events, including planting U.S. flags at the Voice of America Metro Park in West Chester Twp.

They also helped out with an Easter Egg hunt at Middletown’s Douglass Park for more than 600 local elementary children that also saw the students helping with face painting, serving lunch and cleaning up after the event.

At Fairfield North Elementary, some of the international students performed songs and dances from their native countries, inviting the students on to stage to join in and learn.

And at another local community event, they helped pass out newly donated shoes and socks to local elementary students.

Jerry Martin, director of Miami regionals global programs, said adding international students into the enrollment mix has proved invaluable for everyone involved.

“International students bring their culture and personal experiences with them to the regionals to share with our campus and community stakeholders,” said Martin.

“This sharing breaks down communication barriers and provides enhanced learning opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.”

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