International Students Creating Strong Campus Culture

By Brett Martin |

Published 08/19 2014 06:40AM

Updated 08/19 2014 07:14AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Students from across the world are settling in for day two at colleges in the Ozarks.

Drury is celebrating its biggest class ever, while the number of students at Missouri State has quadrupled during the last few years.

More than 80 different countries are represented on the MSU campus. Drury is home to students from 50 other countries.

Xu Lei, a graduate student from China, has lived in Springfield for ten days thanks to the sports facilities at Missouri State.

"People here are very, very nice and the environment here is very nice and even the streets, the roads, the sky, very fresh," says Lei.

MSU has more than a thousand foreign exchange students, mostly from China like Lei. Dr. Jim Baker is the Vice President for Research, Economic Development and International programs.

"It'll be somewhere around a 1,500 international students from maybe 85 countries," says Baker.

MSU has several programs to help from day one when the students step off the plane. Liban George is an International Program Coordinator with the university.

"The last thing you want to do coming from an international country, from a country abroad, is not know the language much or not know the culture and then get lost in Springfield," says George.

"I think language is kind of difficult for me cause my first language is not English, its Chinese," says Tong Wang, a foreign exchange student from China.

Baker says having international students on campus help everyone.

"If you are business student, for example, and you get a degree from us, we want you to know that there is a big market place out there. They're going to be competing not only people from Nixa for a job or a person from Beijing."

Baker says they partner with universities all over the world.

"We have 45 university partners in 18 different countries."

While most return to their native country, Lei hopes to call the Ozarks home and live the American dream.

"If you can offer me a sports management job then I can stay here."

"There is a lot at Mercy and Cox that helps me with my career in health administration, I can find more jobs here and get experience here," says Manoj Kumar, a graduate medical student from India.

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