by Natalie Brassfield, Contributing Writer
Nestled in central Oklahoma, the small private university of OBU is making an international impact.
According to Matt Regier, the International Admissions Counselor of OBU, roughly five percent of the OBU student body is made of international students this fall.
Reiger said he hopes to see this number double.
“I would like to see OBU reach ten percent. I don’t know when that would be, but that is my goal for the next few years.”
Part of Regier’s job is to recruit international students by traveling to different countries and speaking at high schools.
He said he truly believes that having international students at OBU is important and beneficial to the university.
“They bring a collaboration of new ideas to OBU since they all come from different cultures and life experiences.”
One example of how international students bring new ideas to campus that Regier said he has found interesting is talking to international students about U.S. politics.
“They bring a lot of different opinions,” he said.
Although Regier travels and recruits students, international students like English and literature major Alex Shtykov are hearing about OBU from many different sources.
Shtykov said he found out about OBU while working with Dr. David Houghton, the Dean of the Paul Dickinson College of Business.
Houghton was visiting and conducting lectures in Kazakhstan.
“I was interpreting for him and through him I found out about OBU,” Shtykov said.
Many international students come to OBU for sports. like Matias Le-Fort, a freshman and International Business major from Chile.
“I found OBU through tennis,” he said.
Le-Fort has been playing the sport since he was four years old.
After putting up a video on YouTube of himself playing tennis, Matias was contacted by OBU and was asked to play for their team.
“Other schools asked me to play for them, too, but I chose OBU because I knew someone from Chile that came here,” Le-Fort said.
Christopher Calmes, a freshman and Computer Science major, is a missionary kid who lived in Taiwan.
Calmes heard about OBU from a couple of different places.
“I first saw OBU at a conference booth in Ohio,” he said.
“I was really surprised with how far they came to find new students. A representative even visited my school in Taiwan.”
Just as there are many ways that international students have found out about OBU, there are many different reasons why they love it.
“I love OBU and am proud to be a Bison,” Korean student Soeng Min Moon said.
“No place is perfect except for heaven, but I am fond of the atmosphere and people here. The deciding factor was the people. I was so welcomed.”
OBU attracted James Whitley, a Music Composition major and missionary kid who lived in Brazil, for other reasons.
“The main thing I love about OBU is that the school has a very welcoming environment,” Whitley said.
“It’s a place you can feel at home. I could live in Brasil all my life, but I’ll always be a ‘gringo,’ at the same time, it’s hard to come to the United States and call this place my home, when I haven’t even lived in this country for a sixth of my life.
“When it comes right down to it, my home is wherever God puts me, and this is where God has put me.” Whitley said.
Another example of an international student loving OBU is Karsten Ladner, a missionary kid from Malaysia.
“My favorite part about being here are all the upperclassmen; they’re wanting to bring us in and care for us,” Ladner said.
“OBU is a special place where the upperclassmen are excited to see freshman come in, especially freshman like me, who aren’t from Oklahoma,” he said.
Kim Moosbacher from Germany gave a few reasons why she likes OBU.
“It is a small university with many nice students and professors. The campus is beautiful and you have many opportunities to do things with your friends,” she said.
Regier explained why he thinks international students are choosing Oklahoma Baptist.
“I think that OBU is a great place for international kids because it has a great sense of community,” he said.
“There’s a lot of engaging activities for them to be a part of,” he said.
“At OBU, they can be a part of the campus, but unique at the same time.”