UW-Superior international students get taste of Twin Ports
Pablo Teran stood next to the sailboat that was going to give him his first journey into Lake Superior. The temperature was in the mid-50s, with a light breeze from the southwest. Teran compared those conditions to the weather he left three weeks...
Pablo Teran stood next to the sailboat that was going to give him his first journey into Lake Superior.
The temperature was in the mid-50s, with a light breeze from the southwest. Teran compared those conditions to the weather he left three weeks ago in La Paz, Bolivia.
“A cold day in winter would be like this right now,” said Teran of his native country - where the winter season is just ending.
Teran is one of 57 international students who are new to the University of Wisconsin-Superior this semester, said Mark MacLean, the school’s international admissions coordinator. Teran also is the first UWS student from Bolivia, one of eight countries represented for the first time this semester at the school.
“It’s stretching our flag budget,” MacLean joked, referring to the fact that a standard-sized flag from each country is displayed (or soon will be displayed) in the Yellowjacket Union.
That means 43 flags this semester, the most countries represented at UWS in at least the past 20 years, MacLean said. The number of international students - 145 - is typical of the past few years, he added.
Saturday’s event was a way for UWS to welcome its international students to the region with hikes along the Park Point beach and a picnic. But the highlight was the sailing excursion offered by members of the Duluth Superior Sailing Association.
“This is something we’ve done for a number of years, working with UWS,” said Tim Ingersoll, the association’s waterfront director. “We’re able to give these students a chance to get out on the water, and it’s always been a really fun event for us and for them.”
The percentage of international undergraduate students at UWS is the second-highest of any campus in the University of Wisconsin behind Madison, MacLean said. It’s the highest among area campuses.
That’s intentional, he said, as UWS makes a point of recruiting international students. That includes his frequent travels abroad. He will depart next month for China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Foreign students are drawn to UWS by class sizes averaging under 20 per class, MacLean said. They like that the Twin Ports community is small enough to be safe and friendly but still is home to 15,000 university and college students and is a tourism attraction. And although students overseas may never have heard of Superior, they typically know about the University of Wisconsin system, he said.
Teran said he chose UWS because he was able to obtain a small scholarship and because he plans to major in business management.
“I heard that the business school is really good here,” he said, before heading out in one of three sailboats carrying the 20 or so international students who attended the event.
For UWS, the foreign students add international seasoning, MacLean said.
“You can imagine having political science, or history or a business class with students from Nigeria and Nepal and Sweden in your classes,” he said. “It’s going to be far more interesting than if we had all students from the immediate region.”
But some of the students from far away are in for a truly new experience over the next few months.
“Winters are a challenge for many of them,” MacLean said, adding that UWS provides opportunities for international students to participate in curling, snowshoeing, downhill skiing and other seasonal activities.
“I usually tell them: If you want to stay in your room and be miserable during the winter, you have that choice,” he said. “But you don’t have to.”
Countries outside of the U.S. with the most students at UWS:
* South Korea
Countries newly represented among UWS students this semester:
* Dominican Republic
Source: Mark MacLean, UWS