NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) -- The number of international students studying at Missouri's colleges and universities continues to grow, while more Missouri students also are studying abroad, according to a report.
A report from the Institute of International Education said more than 17,300 international students enrolled at a Missouri college of university during the 2012-13 academic year, a 7.7 percent increase over the previous academic year, The Joplin Globe reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/1io4pG8 ).
More Missouri students also are studying abroad. The institute's report said 4,938 Missouri students studied overseas during the 2012-13 academic year, an increase of more than 300 from the previous year.
The University of Missouri-Columbia has the largest number of international students, with 2,490. Other universities with high international enrollment are Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri State University in Springfield, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Lindenwood University in St. Charles, according to the Missouri Department of Higher Education.
"International education fosters an exchange of cultural experiences and ideas on our campuses and in our communities that is crucial in our global society," said Britta Wright, chairwoman of Study Missouri, a consortium of more than 40 colleges and universities that promotes international study.
International students also are an economic boon for Missouri, spending an estimated $452 million during the 2012-13 academic year, the report said.
Gustav Kennestig, a native of Sweden, is studying marketing on a soccer scholarship at Crowder College in Neosho. He said he was homesick at first but enjoyed the soccer season and has made friends in Missouri. He is one of 61 international students from 29 countries currently attending the college.
"It feels like Americans are so much more open and can talk. I really like the people here," he said. "It can take a while, when you go to a new (soccer) team, to get to know the new guys, but here it was like two or three days."
Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com