International enrollment on the rise at Lamar University

Lamar University has seen a staggering 1,013 international students enrolled in the fall — the most in nearly a decade.

International students are enrolled in 69 academic programs across academic classifications and hail from 59 countries spanning all continents, explained Dr. Mustapha Jourdini, executive director of the Office of International Education & ServicesInternational Students

“I see this phenomenal growth as the best way to recognize Lamar University’s current serious commitment to international student recruitment, retention and success,” Jourdini said. “We know that students can choose from almost 5,000 U.S. colleges and universities, but international students have chosen LU for its attractive academic programs, diverse student body, reasonable tuition, many vital campus resources, research opportunities both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, approachable and accommodating faculty and its wonderful and welcoming staff.”

The executive director said that this growth reflects well on the university, as many of its international alumni are leaders in their respective fields in many national organizations, with most international graduates finding jobs before or within 90 days from graduation, he added.

“The strong job placement alone tells the story of our strong academic programs, cutting-edge technology, modern research labs, nationally-recognized programs and faculty researchers,” Jourdini said. “Many of our international graduates in STEM fields end up being sponsored for H-1B work visas by American employers because of the quality academic and professional training these graduates receive while at Lamar University. Some of our graduates have received an employment green card within 24 months from their graduation because of the research they started and published while at Lamar University, just to list one example of how much our international students contribute to ramp up the LU profile nationally and internationally.”

He also noted that international students are vital in contributing to a diverse campus.

“In addition to pure economic benefits, international students enrich our campus life through sharing their beautiful diverse cultures, songs and dances, languages, holiday celebrations, different ethnicities, different religions and different nationalities,” Jourdini explained. “In the classrooms and based on my own published research, international students bring new ideas and insights to American classroom discussions, new challenges to domestic students who may be monolingual and fearful of studying abroad, and they do make domestic students reflect on their own identity and national pride.”

International StudentsThe Office of International Education and Services, he said, is a comprehensive home for international student programs and services, study abroad and student exchange and international student organizations.

“All programs and activities are intended to help enrich the experiences of international students and scholars on campus and to help expand global engagement for students, faculty, and staff at Lamar University. The OIES is the institution's primary place for non-immigrant federal regulations pertaining to F and J visas,” Jourdini said. “We proudly serve our diverse international students in a variety of ways, including with cultural adjustment, visa status maintenance, employment on or off campus, personal counseling, immigration workshops, advocacy with Lamar University stakeholders, and through engaging social, educational and cultural co-curricular programs and events.”

Teja Sundeep Padala, an international student studying for a master’s degree in industrial engineering, said, “Lamar University is the best destination for international students who want to achieve their dream goal in the U.S. with affordable cost and quality of education. LU supports incoming and existing students in all ways. Lamar University offers the perfect course curriculum in meeting the job market standards and professors and staff are top notch in knowledge. Great infrastructure.”

Jourdini noted that he is optimistic about the future of the OIES and Lamar University under its current leadership.

“Under the leadership of Lamar University President Dr. Jaime Taylor and Provost Dr. Dann Brown, I see consistent growth in the international student population,” he said. “These two leaders know exactly what international students go through to get here, and they are giving me the resources we need to respond to the challenges students bring to us.”

“Our international students at Lamar University add to the diversity of our campus and our community,” said Brown, LU provost and vice president of academic affairs. “They come from all around the world and they’re majoring in so many different disciplines, but especially in areas such as computer science engineering and business. We’re excited to have them here and can’t wait to see what they can achieve at Lamar University.”