By Asher Lubotzky, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2022, Doctoral Student,History
For decades, Indiana University has been a welcoming home for a thriving, steadily growing, international student community. The first international students attended IU at the end of the 19th century, but since the end of
the 1940s IU has transformed into a cosmopolitan hub. This has been a remarkable transformation from 29 international students in 1943, to almost 9,000 students in 2017.
The increase in international student numbers has been consistent and stable through most of IU's recent history (even more than the increase in the numbers of American students). Analytically, one can note two major waves
of international enrollment: the first is between the 1950s and 1980; and the second between 2000 and present day.
The first wave was influenced greatly from the global Cold War reality, and the American will to establish "soft power" around the world through higher education (among other things). Thus, most of the international students
during this time originated from American Cold War allies, or the so-called "new" independent nations of Asia and Africa which were oscillating geopolitically between East and West. The second wave reflects the immense
rise of China and India as global powers. In 2017, 55% of the international students were either Chinese or Indian; compared to only 2.5% in 1980. This timeline is an opportunity to learn more about the history of international