October 1, 2010 — As rain generated in part by Tropical Storm Nicole soaked Charlottesville Thursday evening, University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan offered a warm welcome to international students with a dinner at her residence, Carr's Hill.
Graduate and undergraduate students dined and got their first chance to mingle with the new president, in addition to Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., executive vice president and provost; Gowher Rizvi, vice provost for international programs, and others.
Sullivan said U.Va's international students play a vital role in creating a vibrant, engaged global atmosphere at the University.
"Our international students are important members of the U.Va. family," she said. "Coming from 130 different nations around the world, they bring a variety of cultural and political perspectives to the University and share those perspectives with our American students and faculty members."
Nearly 6 percent of the members of this fall's incoming class are international students. "Everyone benefits from the cross-cultural dialogue that occurs naturally with intelligent, engaged international students," she said.
Parke Muth, associate dean of admissions, said the Office of Undergraduate Admission has seen tremendous growth in international applications over the last three years. There were 1,490 applications from overseas in 2008; in 2010, the University received 2,415. (Of those, 717 applicants were offered admission and 239 enrolled.)
Manuela Jimenez of Bogota, Colombia, arrived on Grounds in August as a Ph.D. student in the Curry School of Education. "I came to Curry because I knew about Dean Pianta's work," said Jimenez, who enjoyed her dinner on the covered terrace at Carr's Hill Thursday.
She said she is thrilled that Dean Robert Pianta is teaching one of her courses. "When I tell my friends back home, they just say 'Wow!'"
Jimenez said she plans to return to Bogota when she completes her Ph.D. in educational psychology and applied development science.
Nonetheless, "I've been here three months and I love it," she said.