WIU wants to see more international students on campus

Western Illinois University wants to increase the number of international students on their Macomb campus.

The goal is to reach 10 percent of student enrollment by 2019.

And as the WIU campus gets set to welcome back students later this week, the international studies program is already welcoming students.

The international studies program is seeing students enrolling from across the globe. From Saudi Arabia, to Japan, Brazil to Korea. They're descending onto Macomb and looking forward to the American experience.

"Actually when my Chinese friend asked me which university is good I told them you can start at WIU. Because WIU is a quiet place and very good education, not too many Chinese people, so you can practice your English very well. That's all," Geng Lin, who is a student from Shanghai said.

Rick Carter is the director of the international studies program. He said recruiting students is more involved now than it was back in the 80s and 90s. He and WIU President Jack Thomas have travelled abroad and even made trips to foreign embassies in Washington, D.C. to sell WIU.

"We're constantly looking for other opportunities, other countries that want to come here. Recently we brought some students from Thailand here," Carter said.

Carter added the program is even starting to see more students enroll from countries in South America. Just this year, 12 students from Brazil are making their way to Macomb. Carter hopes the international pipeline will grow bigger and attract more students to Western Illinois.

Carter said WIU attracts a big majority of their international students from Saudi Arabia, India, China, South Korea and Nigeria.