Western Michigan University is getting ready for the arrival of 300 students from Saudi Arabia, one of the Middle Eastern countries’ largest delegations.
Saudi students also are the largest single national group among international students on the Kalamazoo campus. The students acknowledge the challenges that they face coming from a conservative Arab-Muslim society to a culturally liberal, predominantly Christian campus.
Like most international students, the Saudi generally start at the Center for English Language and Culture for International Students. It’s designed to give second-language English speakers a collegiate-level English competence.
Western’s international studies chief Juan Taveras told Mlive.com that Saudi authorities generally prefer to limit the number of students sent to any given campus to 125.
The university gains a high number of applicants mainly because of the "rigor" of its second-language English program, Taveras added.