By Matias Maquieira/ Delta Staff Writer
Missouri Valley College set a record this academic year by having students representing 62 different countries.
The international department is getting bigger every year and this is, by far, the largest number of countries recorded since the university was founded back in 1889.
Missouri Valley College is a university that is known for the amount of students from foreign countries. Last year, there were 54 nations represented. The foreign country that used to have the most students was Brazil, but due to Covid, Spain has come out on top this year with 90 pupils.
As there are countries that have big representation like the two mentioned before, Italy, France, England or some other South American territories, there are students that do not even have a fellow countryman on campus. Examples of those can be Andorra or New Caledonia.
Thomas Merlot is the head of the international office, and he believes that the success in the amount of students recruited from different countries relies on his recent travels to India and the states close to it. He is also confident that he will bring a lot of people from South Africa in the next few years, motivated by an agricultural partnership between the African country and the United States.
Merlot, who is from France, said when he started working for the college back in 2012, there were 200 international students on campus. Today, there are 470 foreigners, making up about 30% of the total student population.
Merlot is sure that the Valley campus is the one with most international students and most countries represented in the conference, but regarding the NAIA, he said that “it is hard to tell, because some schools in the NAIA have 5000+ students”.
In a globalized world like it is nowadays, he finds it very useful to have active social media promoting the college.
“We have an Instagram account for the international department and I get messages from foreigners asking me how I apply for this university,” he said.
Valley’s campus is very cosmopolitan and the increase of international students over these last few years is not a coincidence. The more internationals there are, the more there are that want to come. This is because they feel included and part of a big group.
“When I was in the process of recruitment, I decided MVC was the best because there were so many internationals; it is not the typical American university and I find it easier to communicate with people because you have a lot to share,” said Jesus Perez, a Spanish freshman. Thomas places the importance of having so many foreigners study at MoVal on the different backgrounds and cultures, and the chance for students to get out of a bubble and know more about other ways of understanding life.