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BU Ranked Eighth in International Students

Students hail from six continents and 143 countries

During the 2005–2006 academic year, BU hosted 4,488 students from 143 countries.

Commonwealth Avenue has an international flair, and it’s not just from its restaurants. Boston University enrolls the eighth largest international population of any major U.S. university, according to Jeanne Kelley, director of the International Student and Scholars Office. During the 2005–2006 academic year, BU hosted 4,488 students from 143 countries.

“I believe BU’s name recognition, its excellent programs, and its commitment to recruiting quality international students allows it to remain a national leader,” says Kelley. BU is ranked as the top institution for foreign and exchange students in New England.

“Boston University has a long tradition of enrolling international students, and it has consistently maintained its reputation overseas as a major research university that enthusiastically welcomes international students,” says Urbain DeWinter, associate provost for international programs. “Moreover, BU alumni throughout the world have been very helpful in identifying prospective students and working with University staff in providing applicants interested in coming to Boston with appropriate assistance throughout the admissions process.” 

These national statistics come from the 2006 Open Doors Report, released on November 13, which shows that the number of foreign students enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher education has remained steady at 564,766. Despite declines of 2.4 percent and 1.3 percent in the past two years, this marks the second consecutive year that America has hosted more than half a million international students. The report predicts that foreign student enrollments have stabilized and are poised to rebound.

One reason Kelley cites for diminishing national foreign exchange enrollment in recent years is stricter visa regulations. “We live in a post-9/11 era,” she says. “Hundreds of changes have been implemented, and we have adjusted our systems and procedures to address those changes and make it as easy as possible for students to get through.”

According to ISSO, Asia has the largest foreign representation at BU, with the most students coming from China, Korea, and India. However, students come from 6 continents and 143 different countries, some of which — like Rwanda and Turkmenistan — are represented by only one student.   

“It is more important than ever to bring international and American students together at the University, where they can interact on a daily basis both academically and socially,” DeWinter says. “Getting to know each other is the surest way of learning to respect and appreciate other cultures and preparing students to work together to resolve the many problems we face around the world.” 

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.