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UW-Eau Claire international students eye return to campus after drop in 2020

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is gearing up for another school year, and with it, the return of international students on campus.

In the fall of 2019 the university had 261 international students at the main campus, and fewer in 2020.

The Blugolds experienced a 25% drop in international attendance during the last school year, with fewer than 100 international students physically present during the fall semester.

This fall, the school hopes its international enrollment returns to normal, but can't give a definite number.

"They [international students] still are facing some challenges because of visa processing backlogs at U.S. Consulates abroad. All of the international students come on what we consider a non-immigrant visa category, meaning that they are intending to come here for their studies then return home," said Colleen Marchwick, director of UWEC's Center for International Education.

UWEC's international student population comes mostly from China, Malaysia and India.

The International Education Center is already aware of students who will not receive a visa in time of the August move-in date.

In order for international students to travel to the United States, they will need to show a negative COVID-19 test three days before traveling to the U.S.

Once at UWEC, unvaccinated students will self-quarantine for seven days, while vaccinated students will self-monitor. Both unvaccinated and vaccinated international students will be tested three to five days after travel.

Study abroad programs will also return this year, after being recalled from their programs in March 2020.

Twenty students, as opposed to the usual 60 that participate during the fall semester, will be traveling abroad to Western Europe and South Korea.

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Alyssa Lyons

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