Colorado Celebrates U.S. Depts. of State & Education’s “International Education Week”
“It enriches our community to have international students here, pursuing their academic dreams. Thank you for studying in Colorado, for sharing your talents and experience with us, and for celebrating International Education Week with us.”, said Dr. Kim Hunter Reed as she addressed a group of international students during a special International Education Week Roundtable, hosted by StudyColorado and the University of Colorado Denver. International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and that attracts future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences between nations.
Dr. Reed, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education, Inta Morris, Chief Advocacy and Outreach Officer, Director, StudyColorado, and John Sunnygard, Executive Director, Office of International Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, welcomed international students from universities throughout the state at CU Denver’s Business School for the luncheon event.
The students, whose homes were as far away as China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, India, Japan, Nigeria, Bolivia, Poland, and Germany, had plenty of questions and an equal number of answers about their experiences in gaining an education in Colorado.
Udaya, who is earning her master’s in business analytics, explained how she made the decision to enroll in CU Denver. “I chose the U.S. and this university because the degree program that interested me is very established here. I’m also a photographer and enjoy the Colorado landscape. My specific degree is not offered anywhere else; I have what I needed academically.”
Po is in the master’s program in general business management at Colorado State University/Pueblo and commented, “I wanted to study in the U.S. ever since I was a child. Taiwan and the United States are very close; one of the world’s best educational systems is also in America. I come from Tai Pei, which is very urban and densely populated; so I chose Colorado because of its fresh air and scenic mountains.” He added with a smile, “Plus, I am a big fan of basketball!”
Other students noted that their choices revolved around “affordability” and “safety”. Dr. Reed expressed that it is important for representatives from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, a part of the Governor’s office, to hear directly from the universities’ international students. The Department keeps a strong focus on advocacy on public policy initiatives in a state that has the second highest education level in America.
The international students had researched online websites to find a U.S. college that seemed like a good “fit”, had heard about a university from a brother or sister, or had learned about a school through a counselor. But how did their expectations match with their realities while studying here?
One Colorado State University student, Ismail, commented: “The media’s news about the U.S. is shocking at times. What I have experienced here is that life is organized and the educational system is good. It’s not like what you see in the movies! Go to the universities’ websites to find more accurate information.”
Ugo, who is earning her master’s in information systems at CU Denver, explained that she had a personal perspective that she wanted to study in a “land of hills and valleys.” When she arrived, Colorado’s scenic Rocky Mountains matched what she envisioned. The Business School also was “affordable” and it had the degree program that she wanted.
Quality academics and affordability continued to pop up within the students’ answers. Abdullah is studying for a degree in civil engineering technology at Metropolitan State University. From his viewpoint, living in the U.S. was much more affordable than he had anticipated. “Gasoline, is more expensive, however, electricity, groceries, clothes, and technology are all cheaper than in the Middle East.”
Did the students feel isolated or does Colorado have a friendly environment?
“CU Denver is very welcoming,” said Udaya. “There are different student clubs and cultural events; there are ways for international and American students to communicate with each other and learn from each other.”
“International student informational workshops are held; you can find out how to get a driver’s license, learn about employment opportunities, and discover more about living in Colorado,” said Chenbo, an MBA student at University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
The students had much to say about the value of their education in Colorado and how it was relevant to their future career paths.
“I researched American universities and chose one to suit my personal goal, which is to work at NASA,” said Tatiana, who is earning a master’s in civil engineering at CU Boulder. “I also wanted to be an example for other Bolivians, to show them that they have opportunities to study in the U.S.”
“For me, I find happiness when I am dealing with data; I get really excited when playing with data,” said Udaya. “The business analytics program at CU Denver works well for me.”
She, as well as many of the other students, observed that universities In the U.S. gave international students a great deal of exposure to different types of program offerings and subsequent career possibilities.
“Every degree specialty has its own value and place,” concluded Udaya. “You are able to choose what you really want to do—and that is when you become really successful.”
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StudyColorado is an initiative of the State of Colorado, its institutions of higher education and the Colorado business community. Member universities are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission or in the case of English language schools, by the Commission on English Language Accreditation (CEA) or the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
The University of Colorado Denver is a fully accredited, highly respected academic and health sciences institution that has welcomed international students from around the world for undergraduate, graduate, and English language studies. Whether you’re interested in urban design, business, engineering, pre-med, pharmacy, or a degree you’ve customized from one of the university’s 130+ undergraduate or graduate degree choices, your educational experience will be supported through outstanding student services.
Students at the University of Colorado Denver are serious about their studies, and when it’s time for recreation, Colorado has more than 300 days of sunshine per year, 200 parks, and the “best trail system” in the nation. Set against the backdrop of the dramatic Rocky Mountains, Denver is a thriving city centrally located in the United States, is home to one of the nation’s best international airports, one of its strongest city economies, and is a great place to gain an exceptional education.