*Name changed at request of person. 

Walk past College Nine to the small plot of grass near Social Sciences II and you’ll be looking at the International Living Center (ILC), a building currently hosting a mix of about 100 international and California students. Yet this count may change, as the number of international students is on the rise.

The number of degree-seeking international first-year students jumped from 14 last fall to just over 100 this fall. This is not counting students who are part of the Education Abroad Program (EAP), an exchange program allowing UC Santa Cruz to host students from other nations studying between a quarter to a year. The number of students who are a part of EAP is also just over 100.

UCSC hosts the second-to-least amount of international students, ahead of UC Merced, said director of the International Education Office Anne Butler. This ranking, however, is in proportion with each school’s undergraduate population, considering UC Merced has the lowest number of students and UCSC has the second lowest of all the UCs.

“It is very important for all our undergraduates and graduates to meet people from other cultures, especially since not everybody can study abroad,” Butler said. “We do have about 700 or so students study abroad, but we have about 17,000 students on campus, so that’s not a large number. A lot of [UCSC students and faculty] don’t have the opportunity to meet people from other cultures unless [international students] come here.”

Max Lindau Liljekvist from Sweden and Gwen Brodeur from France are both residents of the ILC and expressed slightly differing opinions regarding the desire to increase the number of international students.

“[The international community] definitely shouldn’t be smaller,” Liljekvist said. “It is a well-functioning community as it is, and you could enlarge it without much trouble if you were able to include more countries in the exchange program. It would be a benefit for all of us.”

Brodeur, on the other hand, is content with the size of the international student community.

“[The international community] is a good size,” Gwen Brodeur said. “It is small enough to be integrated and feel a part of the community, but at the same time it’s large enough to find people who have similar interests and be reassured, especially at the beginning when we were all settling in.”

The ILC is a subset of College Nine that hosts about 100 students, comprised of about half international students and half California students, all of which are mixed among apartments.

Margaux Schindler is an International Peer Advisor (IPA) in the ILC and she serves a similar role as a residential advisor. As an IPA, Schindler organizes events for international students, ranging from workshops acquainting students with a new culture, to camping trips and football games.

“I am definitely a strong advocate for more international students,” Schindler said. “Not only does it make fiscal sense for the university to be investing in international programs, but they create a dynamic atmosphere on campus that is beneficial to students.”

In hope of furthering UCSC’s global makeup, the admissions office and International Education Office expressed interest in hosting more international students in the future. UCSC’s small percentage of international students is something the admissions office is working to grow.

“California students will continue to be our priority, but it is our hope to have approximately 10 percent of our undergraduate population come from other states and other countries,” said admissions director Michael McCawley.

When asked how this would affect admissions of California natives, McCawley said California residents would be unaffected.

“UCSC, like other UC campuses, enrolls all of the California students for which we receive state funding, so our California students are not adversely affected by enrolling more international students, or students from other states for that matter,” McCawley said. “We recognize the importance of California students.”

Butler emphasized this sentiment, explaining the symbiotic relationship between California students and international students, especially considering not all students are able to study abroad.

“It’s important we have more opportunities for students to be global citizens even if they don’t travel,” Butler said. “Even if they stay at UCSC for four years, it is important they feel like they are able to navigate a global economy.”