More than 6,000 international students came to Ohio State to study this past fall, but the countries they came from aren’t all evenly represented.
Chinese students represented nearly 60 percent of the international student population, as there were 3,606 Chinese undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled at OSU for Fall Semester 2013, up about 4.9 percent from 2012 figures, according to the student enrollment report.
Lu Yin, a second-year in business and Chinese international student, said he came to the U.S. for better opportunities for education.
“The universities here in the U.S. are really good, both in teachers and academic equipment,” Yin said. “Almost 30 percent of my friends choose to go abroad for study.”
OSU isn’t the only American university where Chinese students comprise a majority of the international student population — China was the “leading place of origin” for those coming to the U.S. to study in the 2012-13 academic year, according to the Institute of International Education Open Doors 2013 Report.
The total number of Chinese students studying in the U.S. was also up 21.4 percent from the previous year, according to the report.
Zhihui Chu, a fourth-year in strategic communication, said her parents and grandparents had always planned for her to study abroad.
“I made it happen earlier than when they expected by transferring (from a school in China),” Chu, who transferred her second year, said. “I simply wanted to change an environment and push myself a little bit. I plan on going to grad school in the states after my undergrad program.”
Jingan Zhou, a third-year in marketing, said he transferred to the U.S. from China during his sophomore year of college in March 2012. He said he decided to leave his home country to study abroad because he liked having the opportunity to choose whatever major he wanted to pursue as a student.
“I realized that my passion was not in the finance area. So I chose to do marketing, and I am having a minor of design,” Zhou said. “Plus, the business program at (the) Fisher (College of Business) is of very high quality and reputation, which is another reason that I came to Ohio State, rather than other colleges.”
Zhou said most of his friends from China have come to the U.S. to pursue their studies as well.
“Most of my friends feel the same way, and a lot of them are willing to have more engagement with the domestic student(s), the community and the city of Columbus,” Zhou said.
Some of the most popular majors among international students are engineering, physics and business management, according to USA TODAY.
Lindsey Thaler, the director of undergraduate studies for OSU’s Department of Physics, said the students she advises who are from China face many of the same struggles as students from the U.S.
“The Chinese students I meet with have the same academic questions and problems as domestic students,” Thaler said. “Perhaps the one thing that does stand out is that international students sometimes say that being away from their families is difficult and can affect their academic performance.”
India, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan followed after China in overall enrollment at OSU for Fall Semester 2013, totaling 1,225 students between the three of them, according to the student enrollment report.
Zhou said he is mostly just happy to be at OSU.
“I love being involved with (one of) the biggest campus(es) in the nation, and I am proud to say I am a Buckeye now,” Zhou said.