A Versatile, Supportive Approach to International Education for Nontraditional Students

From groundbreaking dual degree programs, to innovative support for nontraditional international students, GS is at the vanguard of global education.

July 16, 2023

Columbia GS is home to a vibrant international student body. The Class of 2023 alone was made up of nearly one-third international students and included 219 graduates of GS’s International Dual Degree programs. Over 60 countries were represented, and in the spirit of GS’s core tradition of supporting student veterans, 64 international members of the Class of 2023 served in their countries’ militaries. 

GS’s cultivation of this globally diverse student community is possible because of the school’s dedication to addressing the specific needs of each international GS student. This stems from GS’s central mission of providing a home in the Ivy League for nontraditional students, a foundation that has made GS an institution dedicated to versatility, and therefore a school uniquely suited to supporting international students.

As Associate Dean for International Programs and Special Projects Jessica Sarles-Dinsick put it, “At GS, we want to find amazing students all over the world, and meet them where they are to help support their next steps in their education.”

This can mean everything from:

  • Recruiting international military veterans who have served in the South Korean, Singaporean, or Israeli military forces, to name a few.
  • Providing tailored support for GS student recipients of the Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced Students.
  • Working with every new cohort from each international Dual Degree program to constantly increase and evolve the resources available to them.

“If the goal of a liberal arts education is to help to define and map the human experience, we need people who have lived those experiences to be part of the academic community, otherwise the conversation is incomplete,” said Sarles-Dinsick. “New York has one of the most diverse populations in the world—it would be a shame for any university here not to welcome and represent all of the voices and experiences the wider city has to offer.”

The presence of such a diverse international student body is a boon to GS and Columbia, and GS in turn provides international students with a valuable, one-of-a-kind education opportunity. 

Sarles-Dinsick also shared, “I think that the diversity we have here on campus is a massive benefit to our international students as well—it’s a really special thing for GS to welcome students into the classroom who have had a wealth of life experience before completing their undergraduate degree.”

Within GS’s 76-year plus history of innovation in the Ivy League, international education stands out as an area of particular success, and continued growth, within the school. From groundbreaking degree programs designed to give students a truly global collegiate experience, to committed support for international students bringing a brilliant array of insights to the Columbia campus community, GS is at the vanguard.