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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Editorial: International students enrich our community

Festival that showcases foods and cultures is just one visible way of highlighting the diverse population of our city.

Mankato Free Press, 12-3-2012

Every spring the international students attending Minnesota State University host a festival that showcases the foods and cultures of their native countries. The Mankato community responds enthusiastically, with many people in the area making the festival an annual priority so they can get their fill of ethnic food and entertainment. The event is just one visible way of highlighting the diverse population of our city. Although students are often temporary residents who graduate and move out of the area, there has been a consistent flow of new inter­national students to fill those spots in the community. And the community is richer, both culturally and economically, because of it. MSU has 768 international stu­dents this year. With students from 86 different nations, MSU ranked 38th nationally for international student enrollment in 2011.

As a result, the community has an opportunity to learn about people and places around the world through univer­sity events, conferences and simply by getting to know our neighbors. Many MSU international students were invited to join local families for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner last month.

Beyond the more global outlook that people gain when learning about different people and their cultures, the area has also benefited financially from being home to a large number of international students. The students and their families contributed $16.2 million to the Mankato econo­my during the 2011-2012 school year, according to Open Doors and the Association for International Educators. And the competition for those dollars is stiff with a total of $320 million contributed to Minnesota’s economy by those students.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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