Oh, how I dislike that chant at the end of sporting events.  But it does accurately describe one little aspect of Michigan’s role in the world.

Michigan overtook Texas and widened its lead over third place California in the number of foreign exchange students hosted, according to the Council on Standards of International Educational Travel (CSIET).

During 2009-10, Michigan hosted 2,177 students through CSIET-listed programs.  Texas hosted 2,021; California hosted 1,604.

MHSAA Assistant Director Gina Mazzolini has served on every level of the CSIET organizational hierarchy, from program evaluator to board of directors; so I asked her why Michigan ranks so high.

Gina’s response is that Michigan schools have a good reputation with CSIET programs, and there are some of the oldest and most well-established programs with deep roots in Michigan; and she said our schools seek these students for the positive diversity they bring that the community’s local population does not provide.  “Our schools try to ensure that their graduates are internationally aware and inter-culturally competent (prepared) to participate effectively in today’s diverse workplace and global marketplace,” she said.

Gina says the programs are attracted to Michigan schools because we are welcoming and have not added as many obstacles to full participation in school activities as some other states; and of course, some Michigan schools seek these students for the additional state aid that arrives with them.

Nationally, foreign exchange placements peaked during the 2007-08 school year at 29,004; but Michigan reached its all-time high in 2009-10.

Michigan ranked 16th among U.S. states in sending students abroad through CSIET-listed foreign exchange programs during 2009-10.  Only 39 students were “outbound” placements.

For more, go to csiet.org.

Posted in: Foreign Exchange


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