Sarah Sidlow, For The Miami Student

International student Marco Formentini serves home-cooked Italian pasta to senior Jess Mitchell Wednesday evening. (SAMANTHA LUDINGTON | The Miami Student)

The Office of International Education has reported the number of international students enrolled at Miami University has risen considerably in the last year, from 700 in 2009 to 840 in 2010.

David Keitges, director of international education, said the university is looking to increase the number of international students that enroll at Miami each year.

He said the goal is to have between 5 and 8 percent of all undergraduate students come from outside the U.S.

“(Considering) the schools we compete with, we need to be global in our approach,” Keitges said.

Recently, Miami has hired full-time international recruiters to travel to East Asia, India, Turkey and the Middle East, according to Keitges. He said Miami hopes to expand the countries international students come from, as well as the programs they go into.

Currently, a majority of international students are in the Farmer School of Business (FSB), and approximately 63 percent are from China, according to statistical information from the Office of International Education.

In the past five years, Miami has seen considerable growth in its international population. In fall 2005, for example, there were 298 international students enrolled. This year there are more internationals enrolled in FSB alone.

The business school is one of the biggest draws for international students, Keitges said. Its high rankings paired with Miami’s public school tuition rates are attractive to students coming to the U.S.

“International college counselors are very driven by rankings,” Keitges said. “Miami’s business school is ranked very high, and students find that it is cheaper to go to a public school like Miami than some of the private business schools.”

Miami has also implemented “two plus two” agreements in hopes of boosting the number of engineering students, Keitges said. These agreements allow students to spend two years studying in their native countries, and two more years to finish their degrees abroad in the U.S.

International enrollment has increased in colleges across the U.S., according to Keitges, who said increased wealth around the world is allowing more students to study abroad.

“I think it’s an exciting time for the university with the growth of international students,” said Stefanie Stauber, an international student adviser.

Stauber is responsible for advising students on matters like immigration regulations and supporting intercultural programming on campus.

Stauber said Miami has done a lot to implement intercultural programming on campus, a factor Keitges recognized as well.

“Miami has been tremendously welcoming to international students,” Keitges said. “Things have been changed, services have increased … everyone in this office has international experience.”

Keitges said activities like shopping trips, tours of King Library, trips to Hueston Woods and a two-week orientation help international students transition to life at Miami.

Senior Yifan Luo is an international student from Chongqing, China. In her first two years at Miami, Luo took part in many of the services and activities provided by the Office of International Education.

As a current international orientation leader and president of the Chinese American Student Association, Luo understands the importance of creating a welcoming environment for international students.

“International education had a really good orientation,” Luo said. “It is so important for the transition … just so students know where to go.”

Miami hopes to enroll more students from new and diverse places in years to come, including Turkey, India, and Vietnam. Keitges said, and the Office of International Education has the staff and the resources to welcome the increase.