More than 200 new international students from 50 countries will begin arriving at the University of Montana this week, getting an early jump on the approaching fall semester.

Effie Koehn, director of Foreign Student and Scholar Services, said international student enrollment continues to grow at UM, passing the 600 mark last year.

This year’s new students are expected to settle in by orientation, which starts Monday for international students. China, Japan and Brazil are strongly represented again this year.

“Their orientation starts three days before the regular orientation starts,” said Koehn. “We introduce them to the different services and the people in charge of those services.”

The efforts also involve the Global Partners Program and the Missoula International Friendship Program, where new students make friends within the community.

Students will receive help registering for fall classes. They’ll also be greeted at the airport with welcome bags to get them through their first few days in Missoula.

Koehn said her program works hard to help ease the students’ transition to school and their new host country.

“First impressions are always lasting impressions,” said Koehn. “It’s important they feel like they belong. They’re matched with peers before classes start so they feel like they have a buddy on campus and a friend in the community.”

While Foreign Student and Scholar Services caters to UM’s degree-seeking students, the English Language Institute helps foreign students gain the language skills they need to begin college.

Justin Kozachenko, the ELI program coordinator, said language classes begin when the semester starts the last week of August. The program has also grown in recent years, putting future students in the enrollment pipeline.

“We expect a lot of growth and a lot of happy students,” said Kozachenko. “Every semester, we see new and different students from around the world, which always makes us happy.”

Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 523-5260, or at martin.kidston@missoulian.com.

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