As of 2019, BYU-Idaho has been ranked 21st out of 1,204 in overall best U.S. colleges & universities for international students, according to College Factual. Their research based BYU-I’s ranking on popularity, quality of education and overall value for international students.
According to Roy Sleight, BYU-I’s Director of Institutional Data and Analysis Services, 1,462 international students currently attend the University, each one being served by the International Services Department.
The International Services Department covers quite a bit. One of their main focuses is in regards to helping both F-1 and J-1 visa students. These students are able to apply for school with what’s called an I-20 application.
An I-20 application is a certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant student status and is issued specifically by Student and Exchange Visitor Program certified schools. Since BYU-I is one of these schools, the International Services Department works very closely with this application process for international students.
Since the F-1 and J-1 are two completely different types of visas, it is crucial for the department to know the difference. The purpose of an F-1 visa is to allow students to enter the United States as full-time students. J-1 visas allow students who need specific and practical training that is not necessarily available in their home country to live in the United States. While different, both are critical to the I-20 application process and the success of international students.
The International Services Department makes attending BYU-I a possibility for students around the world.
“People are very bright and always being nice here, and the faculties really want students to succeed,” said Seokjin Han, a freshman from South Korea studying accounting. “The International Services have helped me and my cousin to be able to comfortably feel valued as students here.”
There are hundreds of students like Han who receive training and experience from the International Services Department. Employees are dedicated to offering options so these students can prepare to succeed in what they’re truly passionate about.
“I’m very grateful for the resources and opportunities available at BYU-I,” said GyuBin Lee, a freshman studying agronomy. “Because of ICE, the International Services of this school and the faculty, I am able to get the preparation and instruction I need to be able to study and practice exactly what I want. That opportunity doesn’t come everywhere.”
Students who are U.S. citizens can help International Services achieve their goals through aiding international students by what’s called a Designated School Official. Also called DSO’s, only U.S.-born students can participate in this role. The main purpose of a Designated School Official is to advocate for and support international students in any way they can, with the intention to come off more as a peer than just a mentor.
The International Services Department continues its mission to help students reach their goals by enhancing their lives how they can.