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In Brief

Chinese Students Attracted to Iowa Universities

10 February 2012

Chinese student instructing three non-Chinese students holding calligraphy pens (Courtesy of the Confucius Institute at the University of Iowa)

Half of the international students at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University (ISU) are Chinese. The University of Iowa welcomed 1,737 students from China in fall 2011; ISU enrolled 1,849. Each school has an international enrollment of about 3,400 students (out of 30,000 on each campus).

Chinese students are studying at Iowa’s two largest public universities in record numbers. The University of Iowa welcomed 1,737 students from China in fall 2011 — half its international student population. The numbers are similar at Iowa State University (ISU), which enrolled 1,849 Chinese students (54 percent of all international students). Each school has an enrollment of about 30,000, and international students make up 11 percent of each campus.

The University of Iowa, located in Iowa City, is known for the creative arts — including its International Writing Program — medicine, law, social and behavioral sciences, space physics and paleontology. In the past five years, the enrollment of Chinese undergraduate students has soared by more than 1700 percent. ISU — in Ames, Iowa — has outstanding programs in agriculture, engineering, home economics, physical sciences, computer technology and veterinary medicine. Chinese enrollment is up by nearly 700 percent since 2007.

Both schools have significant Chinese-language programs. More than 240 students at the University of Iowa and 170 at Iowa State University study Chinese. 

There are also other opportunities to learn about the culture of China. Above, Guan Yu Wang, a University of Iowa mathematics student from Tianjin, China, teaches calligraphy workshops during the academic year through the university's Confucius Institute.