CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - The number of international students attending colleges in the U.S. is dropping, but that is not the case for the University of Virginia.
A U.S. State Department study says the number of international students is at the lowest it has been in more than a decade. However, UVA is holding steady.
Dheeraj Ram is a second-year international student, and a native of India.
"It’s a very well reputable school in the country, and it’s arguably one of the best ones in the U.S. in terms of public universities and private," he said.
UVA Director of International Admissions Senem says the university actively reaches out to international families and school counselors to recruit the best students from around the world.
"To be a world-class center of education you have to have the top faculty and students from around the world,” she said.
Ward says she has seen the changes in student trends during her 14 years at the university.
"Our numbers over the years have actually gone up, so we've never had a dramatic decrease. We do see different trends from different countries, of course that depends on different economies and circumstances," she said.
The University of Virginia aims to maintain five-percent of the student body as internationals.
"They are adding such a beautiful set of experiences to the university," Ward said.
Ram is contributing to that diversity with a club he co-founded to help teach Americans about what India is like.
“This is who we are, what our culture means, and also it’s a place for anyone who feels like, ‘well I don’t have so many people from my country, can I join yours?’ And that is also what India has been,” Ram explained.