This past weekend 625 freshmen moved into the dorms at Whitworth University, the third largest freshman class in school history. It's an exciting time in many students' lives but imagine doing it as an international exchange student.
Students at Whitworth come from 25 different countries and this fall, in addition to one of the largest incoming classes in the university's history, they are also welcoming one of the biggest groups of international students. 24 international students will be starting at Whitworth this coming week, bringing the total number of foreign students to 80.
“We're really trying to base our international recruitment on a United Nations model. We don't want students from just one or two countries, we want a very diverse group of international students,” Marie Whalen said.
Whalen says they have been doing a lot of outreach to grow the school's international interest. The ability to bring foreign students to Whitworth is a benefit for the entire student body as it allows every student to learn new cultures from Central America, Asia and Africa.
One of the students coming to Whitworth is Francisco Iazlde, a pre-med student from Namibia.
“I'm from a very small country ... it's about 4.8 million people, very diverse, we speak German, Dutch Afrikaans, so many languages,” he said.
So how did Francisco end up in Spokane? He found the university through a Google search.
Everything about Whitworth just talks about me, talks to me, that's really why I came here,” he said.
Health sciences, engineering and international business are all common degrees among international students. After graduation students either choose to stay in the United States or head back home. Francisco hopes to eventually go home, but right now he's just hoping to make it through an Eastern Washington winter.
“So far I am having a good time, I really love it, the trees and everything else, I'm just not ready for the snow yet,” he said.