Kokomo — Fifteen Saudi Arabian students have enrolled at Indiana University Kokomo since August 2012, which is welcome news for an institution that’s made fostering diversity a priority, university officials said.
“This is bringing the world to our students,” said Kathy Parkison, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs at the university.
The goal is to prepare students to live and work in a diverse, global economy, according to the university’s strategic plan for the next three years.
As part of that, IU Kokomo has plans to develop a diversity web page for the campus, enhance international travel courses, increase student participation in study abroad programs and increase enrollment of international students.
Ideally, Parkison said, every student at IU Kokomo would study abroad for at least one semester.
“Both of my daughters studied abroad,” she said. “It was a life-changing experience.”
Parkison said she realizes that many of the university’s students will never be able to do that because they work and raise families, and most of them can’t find the money or time to do it.
According to the strategic plan, the university’s goal is to get three students to study abroad each year.
But Parkison said IU Kokomo might have more success attracting international students here.
The ultimate goal is to bring in more than 55 students, the strategic plan states.
Parkison said she doesn’t know how many international students are at IU Kokomo this year because the university doesn’t track those numbers yet. But four countries — India, Korea, Nigeria and now Saudi Arabia — are represented on campus.
Talal Al Hammad was the first Saudi Arabian to come to Kokomo to study.
Al Hammad found the university’s MBA program while searching online.
He contacted IU Kokomo’s MBA Program Director Gloria Preece through Facebook for more information, and she replied with answers to all his questions within an hour.