HONOLULU – Hawaiʻi will shine a proud spotlight on the thousands of students from beyond the United States who study at its universities, colleges and preparatory schools with “Study Hawaiʻi Day at the Capitol: Celebrating International Students & Education,” Thursday, Feb. 13, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The day-long event, being organized by the Study Hawaiʻi educational consortium, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and campuses around Hawaiʻi, will welcome international students, legislators and other state leaders, as well as the education community to the Capitol for an information expo and networking throughout the day.
Organizers hope to provide attendees a comprehensive look at the distinct academic programs and extracurricular opportunities for international students on Hawaiʻi’s preparatory, college and university campuses. They also seek to deepen legislators’ appreciation for the strong and positive contributions those students make to the state’s diverse culture and the impact they have on Hawaiʻi’s economy — an estimated $109 million last year, according to Institute of International Education calculations. That is very near the economic boost that the state enjoys each year from film and television productions, according to DBEDT.
“The benefits of our international student population go well beyond the economic activity generated each year,” said Dennis Ling, administrator of DBEDT’s Business Development & Support Division. “Those students often become part of the Hawaiʻi workforce, contributing to the number of well-educated, highly skilled professionals available to employers and businesses. They are an important part of our economy.”
Representatives of schools and colleges throughout Oʻahu and the Big Island will be on hand, staffing an information fair on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Capitol Building. Additional scheduling information on the day’s activities will be made available closer to the event.
The number of international students in Hawaiʻi ticked up slightly this school year to nearly 4,500, according to the annual “Open Doors” report compiled by IIE. Hawaiʻi Pacific University, Chaminade University and the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa are all ranked among the nation’s top five most diverse campuses by CollegeFactual.com, largely due to the ethnic and geographic diversity of their students. Most of the international college students studying in Hawaiʻi come from Japan, South Korea, China, Norway and Taiwan.
“Hawaiʻi has long been known for its physical beauty and great weather, but it deserves to be known for the academic quality of its universities, colleges and schools,” said Sherri Leibert Fujita, president of the Study Hawaiʻi board. “Our campuses offer experiences and degree programs that in many cases simply can’t be duplicated on the mainland or in other places.”
The Study Hawai‘i Educational Consortium is a 501c(3) organization established to promote the State of Hawai‘i as a study destination. Study Hawai‘i members share a belief that international education advances learning and scholarship, builds understanding and respect among different peoples, and enhances constructive leadership in the global community.