UofM Creates Integrated Center to Serve International Students

December 15, 2016 - The University of Memphis has nearly 670 international students from 55 countries – many from India, China, Canada and Bangladesh. Now the University is creating a new centralized office to serve these students.

In an effort to boost the global exposure of its students, the University is launching an integrated one-stop service center to encourage international students to study in the United States. The new Center for International Education Services (CIES) will be home to the UofM Study Abroad Office, the Intensive English for Internationals program and International Student Services Office. 

CIES will serve the needs of the University's international community and prepare students to become global citizens while enhancing efforts to expand its national and international reach. By consolidating these services, the Center will provide a more welcoming environment for international students and scholars and help them engage with other students, faculty and staff.

The new Center will make the University a more attractive option for international students, said Rebecca Laumann, who is directing the CIES. "It will allow us to recruit more international students to Memphis from abroad or by transfer from other U.S. institutions."

In addition to recruiting, goals include providing expert advising on student visa issues, creating internationalization initiatives, supporting international research and collaboration, and promoting cultural awareness through innovative programming.

Offices serving international students previously were housed in five different buildings. "A centralized office will provide programs and services that our international students can fully participate in and ease their integration into the United States," Laumann said.

Study Abroad students also will benefit from the CIES, she added. "Students who study abroad tend to have a strong interest in getting to know students from other countries and learning about their cultures. The new Center will host events and activities to promote cultural awareness. U.S. students who may not be able to afford studying abroad will still have the opportunity to interact with our international students." Last year 380 UofM students studied abroad in 25 different countries.

The University is pursuing local and international partners who can help serve as catalysts for the initiative, which would position Memphis as a hub for global business and cultural organizations requiring a sophisticated, globally oriented location.

The CIES is scheduled to open in the Panhellenic Building in early January. On Feb. 20 there will be an open house from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey