Rep. Shankland on International Student Proclamation

By: Liz Holbrook 8/26/19 WSAU

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -- This week has been declared International Student Welcome Week.

The proclamation was declared by Governor Tony Evers for the state back in mid-July. The proclamation focused on showing support to international students studying in Wisconsin was proposed to the Governor by local State Representative Katrina Shankland.

Shankland says the idea of the proclamation came from one of her constituents that works at UW-Stevens Point. "Its actually been a challenge sometimes to recruit international students to come here because their worried about whether or not they'll be welcomed.

"I think it's important for the state government to send a strong message that we recognize their value intrinsically to our culture and our economy. And that we want them here and we welcome them."

Shankland believes something residents forget about sometimes unless they're on campus is all the different ways international students positively affect the community they live in.

"New ideas, exposure to new cultures, languages. It's really important it helps broaden all of our horizons and open our minds. I don't think you can quantify the full positive impact of our international students. But I do think it's wonderful that Governor Evers has proclaimed this week International Student Welcome Week."

With the proclamation, Shankland is hopeful it will encourage international students to recommend to others to study at Wisconsin universities.

"They're likelier to tell others that Wisconsin is a welcoming place. And it's a great place to study. We have wonderful universities and a lot to do here. We have amazing lakes, rivers, and streams, lots going on in Central Wisconsin especially.

"So I'm hopeful that this is just one more thing for international students to report back home that it's a good experience to study in Wisconsin."

Shankland explains that the proclamation is mainly about welcoming international students and letting them know that they're wanted at universities and in Wisconsin communities. UW-Madison has around 4,000 international students and Shankland believes that several thousand more are enrolled in the entire UW system.