Pacific’s international students ‘an enormous strength’
When Josephine Millard ’24 arrived at University of the Pacific from France in 2018, she spoke limited English and had never been to the United States. The student-athlete, who plays basketball, is on track to graduate with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering in the spring.
“I loved it right away,” she said. “It was hard at the beginning because I didn’t speak English very well. So it was a learning process my freshman year, but everyone around me—my team, classmates, professors—were very helpful. It’s a family environment, which I really like.”
Millard is one of 872 international students enrolled at Pacific for the 2023-24 academic year, accounting for nearly 13% of the student population—a 30% increase from last year.
While students from India and China lead the international contingent at Pacific, the university has students from six continents and 67 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal and Sweden. Christopher Callahan called the geographic diversity “an enormous strength” for Pacific.
“That international flavor is really important, not just for those students who come to Pacific and get a world class education, but also for our students from the United States,” Callahan said. “Being exposed to different people, cultures and ways of thinking is an important part of the educational process.”
The increase is largely fueled by Pacific’s growing portfolio of graduate programs, especially business analytics, computer science and data science.
The Master of Science in Business Analytics offered through Eberhardt has the largest number of international students with 179, an 88% increase from the previous year.
“There is an increase in demand for people in the business analytics field all over the world, including the United States,” said Professor Albert Huang, program director for business analytics. “Businesses have a lot of data they need to put to use, so there is big demand for specialists.”
The School of Engineering and Computer Science saw tremendous growth in two of its programs. The Master of Science in Computer Science program has 149 international students, an increase of more than 150% over last year. Data Science, which has 105 international students, saw a nearly 60% increase this year.
“These students bring a rich tapestry of diversity to our campuses, providing important opportunities for personal growth for all our students and enhancing Pacific’s international reputation,” said Benerd College Dean Patricia Campbell, who oversees Pacific Global.
Pacific Global is a one-stop shop for international students, offering a wealth of services and support to international students during their academic journey.
Altamash Babar ’25, who is a student ambassador for Pacific Global, found the support tremendously beneficial after first arriving to Pacific from Pakistan.
“As a student ambassador we lead new students in orientation and help them throughout the semester. We are in Bechtel International Center at the front desk. New students can come to us with any questions or problems, and we’ll help them,” Babar said. He also recently formed the International Student Club on the Stockton Campus.
Pacific will be expanding its global reach next year by expanding the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry’s International Dental Studies program to the Sacramento Campus. It is now offered only on the San Francisco Campus. The two-year program has space for 30 students each year for a total of 60.
“The Pacific brand has been growing in the U.S. in recent years and with the concerted effort to recruit more international students, it’s becoming more widely known globally,” Callahan said. “More people are recognizing the value of a Pacific education and choosing to come here from all over the world.”