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Uptick in international students and researchers predicted as campus receives official U.S. Exchange Visitor designation

Jacksonville University is now among a handful of private colleges in Florida to receive official U.S. State Department designation as an Exchange Visitor sponsor.

The approval means that more international short-term students, researchers and professors, including Fulbright Scholars, will be calling the University and Jacksonville home as they teach, study, conduct research, receive on-the-job-training from local businesses and provide them with specialized skills in return.

“International students have a home at Jacksonville University, and the official designation by the State Department affirms that status,” said Dr. Donnie Horner, Provost/Senior Vice President for University and Academic Affairs. “We are proud to host more than 200 international students from 45 foreign countries, as this diversity adds to the richness of the JU academic experience.”

Only colleges authorized to host foreign nationals who have J-1 Visas for work and study can take part in the exclusive, multi-faceted Exchange Visitor Program. They issue Certificates of Eligibility for these non-immigrant exchange visitors after selecting and screening them based on mutual needs and goals.

“These are knowledgeable scholars who may assist in any number of programs here, including the just-announced OCEARCH at Jacksonville University,” said Chief International Officer Dr. CK Kwai. “They can teach in a variety of new or current majors, courses and concentrations. It’s an entirely new category of visitors and students basically taking advantage of all that the JU community has to offer as their study abroad site.”

Through the program, JU can also begin creating even more partnerships and exchange agreements with foreign institutions. The designation will enhance its global recognition and reputation among prospective students, and exchange students who take part in the program at JU may decide to return later as full-time students.

To take part in the program, JU worked for a year to meet all requirements to receive the designation. It is a serious commitment of talent and resources, and the University has hired a new International Student and Scholar Adviser to help plan programs and act as principal contact for this new group of visitors to JU.

Kwai said he expects up to 10 exchange visitors in the first year, with the first students to begin arriving as early as this fall, and research scholars this summer.

According to the State Department, the Exchange Visitor Program “fosters global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. All exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.”

The Exchange Visitor Program is authorized by the Fulbright-Hays Act to strengthen ties and “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries and to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United

States and other nations,” according to the State Department.

For more information on international education at JU, email international@ju.edu or call +1 (904) 256-7775.