A Message from the
Bechtel International Center
This past month we saw over 1,500 internationals walk through Bechtel’s doors. Indeed, we have had a very busy start to our 2017-2018 academic year, yet by all accounts, a very successful one.
We do not hesitate to attribute this success to the invaluable support we received from our incredible CCIS partners. From indefatigably guiding our students through bewildering amounts of information and tirelessly answering the same questions again and again, to warm and welcoming homestays, to serving food at our student dinners and receptions, to chaperoning bus trips around the Bay Area, to English classes and English in Action, to spouse support and Friday Morning Coffees, to the wonderful ritual of Windows on the West on Friday evenings and to all the other immeasurable ways you have given of yourselves -- and continue to give of yourselves -- to make the lives of international students easier and more rewarding, thank you from all of us at Bechtel…from the bottom of our hearts. We could not, and I repeat, could NOT, do what we do without you!
Here are the statistics of our international population broken down into groups:
Undergraduates: This year we sponsored 175 incoming freshmen on student visas, representing 69 countries and 72 languages. The ratio of women to men was 51/49. This number, 175, represents 10% of the total number of incoming freshmen (1,700).
Graduates: There are 957 graduate students who we sponsored from 80 different countries. They make up 36% of the incoming graduate population which is 2,675. China is number one with 283 students. This represents 30% of the total of 957 international students! India is a distant second with 129, followed by Korea with 43, Canada with 41 and France with 31. We have 22 countries with just one student. These countries are Angola, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Gabon, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Macedonia, Mauritius, Mongolia, Panama, Paraguay, Qatar, Romania, Senegal, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
Scholars: September is always a busy month for arrivals for scholars (which includes postdocs). We usually see around 500 or so over a six-week period in the late summer through the beginning of October. This year is no different.
A change we have seen -- and not for the better --was that fewer Iranian students and scholars have chosen to come to Stanford this fall. This is most certainly a result of the travel ban and the climate created by the current administration. It has been difficult for Iranians for a long time now to go through the visa application process to come to the U.S. (there is no U.S. embassy in Iran), but now the process is more formidable than ever, with enhanced screening and vetting requirements. Sadly, the U.S. is now perceived as an unwelcoming place to study and do research not only for those who are citizens of those countries that are on the travel ban list but for many who come from Muslim-majority countries. This situation is exceedingly unfortunate and deeply troubling. All the more reason for your continued volunteer efforts, as they are more important now than ever before.
Elsa Gontrum, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Associate Director