With COVID-19 vaccines available and travel restrictions easing this year, Goshen College reported an 18 percent increase in international students from a year ago.

This fall, the college enrolled 73 international students from 32 countries, according to Dan Koop Liechty, the international student adviser at GC and director of alumni engagement. That compares with 62 students from 25 countries last year.  

Koop Liechty credits Goshen College’s athletic coaches for the influx in international students. 

“A good year would be 20 new students,” he said, “and we have nearly 30 this year.”

The countries with the highest representation on campus are Brazil, with 14 students, and India and Kenya, with eight students each. Goshen College has had a consistent number of Indian students for more than a decade, but the influx of Kenyan and Brazilian students is more recent.

Other students come from Argentina, the Bahamas, Ecuador, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Jersey (a Channel island), Nigeria, Serbia, South Africa and Switzerland.

Pedro Scattolon, a first-year tennis player from Argentina, said that international students are already bonding. 

“It is all new and we didn’t know anyone before coming here,” he said, “so we are in the same situation.

The resurgence in international students should provide a boost to the International Student Club, Koop Liechty said. 

“We’re of course thrilled to have an increase in international students and it’s exciting to have such a large group of new students.”

All Goshen College students are invited to participate in the club, whether or not they are from a foreign country, Koop Liechty emphasized. 

The club is one of the most active clubs on campus, with more than 150 members each year. The majority of the ISC members are from the U.S.

“The club’s goal is to bring international and domestic students together for a chance to have fun, exchange ideas and learn from each other’s cultures,” Koop Liechty said. 

“It’s good,” said Eduardo Curvo, a sophomore soccer player from Brazil, “because when you know who’s international from the start, it’s easy to start a conversation and it’s very open because you can relate.”

Club events have included trips to Chicago, the Lake Michigan dunes, international movie nights, game nights and the ISC coffeehouse and dinner. The club kicked off this year with a welcome-back dinner, with more than 55 members attending.  

The club’s largest annual event, the ISC Coffee House, was much smaller last year to meet COVID-19 precautions, and only students with tickets could attend in person. 

Koop Liechty thinks that will change this year. 

“Conditions permitting, we hope to again have an in-person coffeehouse in March,” Koop Liechty said. “The dinner will need to take a new form this year because of changes to the College Mennonite kitchen staffing, but we hope to still have an amazing array of international foods.”