International student enrollment soars

Michael Ford
Managing Editor

   Enrollment among international students at the University of Arkansas at Monticello reached an all-time high this semester with a total of 20 students representing nine different countries.

   International students face a number of requirements before they may attend UAM. Moreover, once they arrive on campus, they must abide by certain restrictions, which vary by country. They must meet federal guidelines, which all include financial affidavits, as well as adhere to homeland security and university policies.

   Mary Whiting, director of Admissions, said everything changed after 9/11. Every 48 hours, she must check the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which the U.S. immigration and customs office monitors.

   “If they break any laws, I’m supposed to deal with it,” Whiting said. “They can’t have a job on campus without seeking approval through this office. They can’t change their major or address without notifying me. If a student loses their scholarship, I have to tell.”

   According to the UAM catalog, admission requirements for foreign students include: 

  Submission of all required documentation to the office of Admissions by June 1 for the fall term, Nov. 1 for the spring term and March 1 for summer terms.

  Application for admission.

  ACT scores.

  Official academic records (secondary school, college or university) translated into the English language.

  Proof of immunization against measles and rubella.

  Proof of English proficiency: Non-English speakers must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and achieve a score of at least 500.

  Proof of financial support: All international students must provide certified proof that they can financially meet academic and living expenses in this country.

  Proof of insurance: All international students must provide certified evidence of health and accident insurance.

   Once international students make it through all the red tape, though, they seem pleased with their experience at UAM

   “I've been at UAM for four years after this semester,” said Benas Matkevicius, a senior speech major originally from Lithuania, who plans to graduate in May 2005. “Obviously, I like it here; otherwise I wouldn't have stayed here this long.”

   Matkevicius likes UAM for the same reason many other students do.

   “It's not as big as other colleges,” he said. “Therefore, you have the opportunity to make many friends and you are able to communicate with the professors on a personal basis, without feeling one of many. Many professors will recognize you outside the classroom and will talk to you; therefore I felt comfortable at all times.”

   Although spirits seemed to run high among international students, Wendy Young shared the downside of being so far away from home.

   “As an international student it is hard sometimes because everyone gets to go home, but sometimes I do not,” said Young a junior accounting major originally from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and Grenadines in the West Indies. “And it hurts sometimes when I am here and everyone does not cherish what they have or to see them with their families and how they treat them.”

   Even though Young disclosed a few minor complaints, she gladly expressed her overall opinion of the university.

   “UAM is a beautiful place to study,” she said.

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The Voice, 2005
Revised 050204 — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_10/international.htm