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ISO numbers up

International Student Organization has seen an increase in the number of international students this year.

The total number of new international students, including students staying at Concordia for one semester, and those staying for one year is 55.

“This year the number in exchange students has definitely increased,” said Sonja Paulson, faculty advisor for ISO.

There are 12 students here for one semester, 12 students who will stay for the year, and the remaining 31 students are here as transfer students, or as freshman to complete their degree.

Last year there were 100 international students total, including degree seeking students, one semester, one-year students, as well as transfer students. This year there are 117 international students.

“The presence of Concordia students [studying abroad] has assisted and has helped generated interest in coming here,” Paulson said.

Jason Finnerty, a student from Ireland studying at Concordia for one semester, has been impressed with the helpful nature of people here.

“Everybody is so nice, Everyone is literally the nicest person you can meet,” he said. “I like the fact that we can meet a diverse amount of people and get friendly with them as well.”

ISO holds a festival every year. Students are invited to represent their home country in whatever way they see as best. International organizations from Minnesota State University Moorhead and North Dakota State University participate by bringing their international students to the ISO festival, as well.

It is an “awesome celebration of cultures,” said Charlie Alvarez, president of ISO.

Due to the increase in international students, more countries than ever before are being represented at the festival. Jordan is one country that will be represented for the first time.

“Exposure to a new country for the student body as a whole is an absolute asset,”  Paulson said.

In the past ISO has been about reaching out to international students, but now they are trying to include American students as well, said Alvarez.

“One goal [is] to get more American students in ISO, to get a feel of what it’s like in other countries,” said Christoffer Birch-Jensen, ISO Public Relations Officer. “But, also, to make new students feel welcome here.”

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