Western Michigan University is getting ready for the arrival of 300 students from Saudi Arabia, one of the Middle Eastern kingdom's largest delegations.
Saudi students also are the largest single national group among international students on the Kalamazoo campus. The students acknowledge the challenges that they face coming from a conservative Arab-Muslim society to a culturally liberal, predominantly Christian campus.
Like most international students, the Saudi generally start at the Center for English Language and Culture for International Students. It's designed to give second-language English speakers a collegiate-level English competence.
Western's international studies chief Juan Taveras tells Mlive.com Saudi authorities generally prefer to limit the number of students sent to any given campus to 125. He says Western gets more because of the rigor of its second-language English program.