Margaux Parmentier

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The number of international students at Winthrop University has steadily declined since 2012, according to numbers provided by the school.

However, the group of 98 international students on campus this semester are more diverse, as there are a greater number of countries represented.

“The number of international students at Winthrop have slowly been decreasing,” said Lindsey Hill, assistant director of the Winthrop International Center, via email.

There were 179 international students on campus in fall 2010 and the number grew to 240 in fall 2012, but since then the numbers have dropped to 194 in fall 2014, 136 in fall 2016 and 93 in fall 2018, according to Hill.

That is a decline of 61 percent since 2012.

Hill said the decrease is likely related to a lack of promotion, because there currently is no one in charge of recruiting international students to Winthrop.

“It is the hope of the International Center that this current situation changes and evolves in the near future,” said Hill.

“I really had the impression that I had to find all the information by myself. If I haven’t done that, I wouldn’t be at Winthrop now,” said Capucine Leprêtre, a student from France.

However, Hill said, there is an admissions counselor at Winthrop who is charged with corresponding with international students who apply.

Additionally, some students said the international experience at the school could be improved.

“I feel like the community does as much as they can to help with the integration of international students, but there is still more that can be done,” said Sarai Lumwai, a freshman biology major from Trinidad and Tobago.

Despite the decline in numbers, there are students represented from 37 different countries at Winthrop this semester, including three news countries: Bolivia, South Korea and Trinidad and Tobago.

The largest populations of international students at Winthrop come from China, France and Australia, said Hill.

Additionally, the university continues to encourage Winthrop students to study abroad.

For example, Bonnye Stuart, study abroad coordinator for the Mass Communication Department at Winthrop, said the department has entered a new partnership with the Centro Universitario EUSA in Seville, Spain.

Stuart said she is currently promoting the program, which will begin fall 2019, and one of her classes is working to recruit students.

President Dan Mahony has a stated goal of expanding student recruitment internationally and increasing diversity in the Winthrop Plan.

Editors note: Margaux Parmentier is an international student from France, studying mass communication during the spring semester.