International Diversity has always been one of the many agendas promoted by Kalamazoo College. In recent years, there has been a shift from single-digit degree-seeking international students to about 29 per year. With the help of the admissions department, the college has been able to sustain a relatively stable trend, as international students compose 8 – 10% of the student body each year.
Eric Staab, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, said “I arrived at Kalamazoo College in 2006 and the International Recruitment Program was not fully developed”. He also commented on the recent shift in making international recruitment more of a priority.
In 2007, there were 7 degree-seeking international students. By 2009, the amount tripled in size. 2010 was a “blip year” at 41 international students, according to Staab. “We were admitting people off of the waitlist and there were a bunch of really good international students,” said Staab.
As for the plans to keep K as diverse as it is now, Staab explained that making the college known and meeting with high school counselors are important steps that K is already taking to continuing international diversity.
This year at 28 and last year at 29, Staab mentioned that the college was reaching its balance in international students and domestic students and he hopes that it continues down the path of regularity.
International students feel the effects of increased international diversity as well.
“There are all sorts of people from all over the world,” said Elizabeth Wanjala ’15 when asked about the international diversity at K. Wanjala found out about K College through programs at her college in Nairobi. As a visiting international student, Wanjala said that she felt well represented as a student from Kenya.
Tuan Do, ’18, a degree-seeking international student from Vietnam, said that he found out about K through the book ‘Colleges That Change Lives’. “Yes, it is very diverse” said Do referring to K College as a whole. “There are a couple Vietnamese students” he said and continued to talk about the lack of diversity in his other schools. “I don’t feel like I’m the only one here.”
As a whole, K has been doing substantially better not just in terms of numbers, but consistency as well. International students are an important part of Kalamazoo College in the same way that domestic students are. Maintaining diversity can help different cultures understand each other better and can create a more tolerant and educated student populace.