PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - International education is a growing focus at universities across the country, and the University of Pikeville is no different.
International enrollment grew at U.S. colleges by 6% last year, and officials at UPIKE say they too are stressing the importance of global education.
UPIKE officials say they want to make the university a leader in global education, hoping more students from across the world will make the trip to the mountains.
"Global education is important, not just for here but everywhere. If our students are going to be successful they have to be global citizens," said UPIKE Director of Global Education Dr. Sandy Kroh.
UPIKE student Connor Smith is from New Zealand, and he says being in Eastern Kentucky is a unique experience.
"I'm from a big city where it's all kind of flat, and I'm on the beach where I live, and you come here there's no water. It's all mountains," he said.
He says he enjoys the culture change and he always knew he would study in America.
"My dad actually did the same. He had a tennis scholarship and came to America when he was younger, and so he kind of planted the idea," said Smith.
UPIKE officials are tapping into international education, hoping to broaden world knowledge about Appalachia.
"If they really want to see America in the mountains this is the place to be," said Kroh.
They hope students like Connor will also be able to give people of this area a look at the world.
UPIKE officials want to increase their international enrollment to 10% of their total enrollment within three years. They currently have nearly 30 international students and hope to increase that to at least 130.