Byungjoo Shin, an international student from South Korea attending Black Hills State University, places a pin on his home country, during a ceremony. BHSU has seen an increase in international students and domestic students participating in study abroad over the past year.
International relations and global engagement at Black Hills State University are at an all-time high, thanks to focused efforts to increase participation in study abroad and recruit international students.
In the past year, BHSU reports a 317 percent increase in BHSU students participating in study abroad. Students received course credit for faculty-led programs in the Philippines, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Germany. Five additional faculty-led international programs are currently being developed.
Dr. Katherine Wildman, director of international relations and global engagement at BHSU, said the University currently enrolls international students from 30 countries; 31 percent of those countries are new this year.
“Our move to offer more international credit-bearing programs abroad provides faster venues for students to obtain their degrees. With so many diverse options, students can find the right international program for their budget, time and interests,” said Wildman. “A new focus on recruiting international students has provided more time to meet with perspective international students and parents and create relevant resources like view books, videos and personal conversations in their native language.”
The BHSU Viewbook and other publications have been translated into Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin, with plans for additional translations.
Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, assistant professor of English and director of University Honors, spearheaded the new International University Scholar program, a distinction reserved for University Honors students who complete a significant international experience during their time at BHSU. In May 2016, the first two International University Scholars, Alicia Benz from Killdeer, N.D., and Ashley Ruegg from Gering, Neb., graduated from BHSU.
“The University Honors Program is dedicated to providing a dynamic, diverse university experience, and our new international track seeks to further enhance both personal and global engagement,” said Huse Wika. “University Scholars will reap the benefits of personal and academic growth; will gain valuable skills in life, leadership, and global competency; and will further set themselves apart from their peers in the professional world.”
BHSU also saw a 15 percent increase in degree-seeking students from countries outside of the United States enrolled at BHSU in the past year. An increase in degree-seeking students is especially significant because these students plan to stay at BHSU for the length of their degree, rather than a semester-long exchange program.
Wildman says the commitment to global engagement at BHSU is making an impact on campus and throughout the world.
Recent BHSU graduates who are using their study abroad and international experiences in their post-graduation work and activities include:
Courtney Gross from Brandon draws upon her study abroad experiences in Lithuania and Botswana and is currently serving as a primary literacy advisor in Jamaica with the U.S. Peace Corps.
Tamara Schoenberger from Belle Fourche studied abroad in Korea while at BHSU. Schoenberger was recently accepted into Japanese English Teaching Program and will be living in Japan teaching.
Current BHSU students who’ve received significant scholarships to study abroad include:
Carissa Hauck, business major from Belle Fourche and a University Honors student, was recently accepted to the U.S. State Department funded Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CYBX) program, a year-long program in Germany that includes intensive language, university, and internship experiences.
Elizabeth Millay, history major from Gering, Neb., received a $1000 scholarship from the American Institute for Foreign Study to assist in her fall study abroad in Rome.
Bryce Boser, mass communication major from Box Elder; Keeley Kleven, political science major from Williston, N.D.; Richard Walbe, mass communication major from Deadwood; and recent BHSU graduate Alicia Benz from Killdeer, N.D., received a tuition scholarship to attend a summer United Nations program in China hosted by China Three Gorges, a BHSU partner University.