The University of New Mexico and its Global Education Office (GEO) already have a strong reputation among international students; and according to survey results recently released by iGraduate, UNM’s services for visiting international students are more popular than ever, ranking fourth overall in the U.S. for 2013.

iGraduate’s International Student Barometer (ISB) survey was conducted for the fall 2013 semester and was responded to by 143,952 international students from 178 different institutions in 13 different countries. In addition, 20,387 U.S. students from 27 different institutions across the country also participated, with more than 500 UNM international students responding to the survey.

The survey revealed UNM ranked 32nd globally in overall support services, with the university’s arrival services for international students ranking second in the U.S. and seventh globally. UNM’s new rankings show a sharp increase from their already high standing in ISB’s fall 2012 survey, in which UNM’s overall support services for international students was ranked eighth in the U.S., and 50th globally. UNM was also ranked substantially higher year-over-year in key areas such as social activities, study sense, formal welcome, and university orientation.

“This is an important milestone for GEO as we continue to gain national and global recognition for our commitment to expanding UNM’s mission of internationalization,” said Mary Anne Saunders, special assistant to the president for global initiatives. “UNM’s international student population is very diverse in terms of where our students come from and we strive to create a welcoming and vibrant learning and living environment for each student. These new rankings demonstrate that our efforts, combined with the efforts of many departments across campus, have been well-received.”

Students were asked a series of questions that ranged from inquiries about their arrival experiences to their experience in their final year.

Students listed UNM’s top strengths as:

  • Learning: Quality lectures, assessment, grading, and program organization
  • Living: Cost and host friends
  • Support Services: Counseling and international student office
  • Arrival: First night experience, housing condition, and friends
  • Satisfaction: Arrival overall and learning overall

Students also ranked several UNM programs on a scale of one to four, with a score of one indicating the student was very dissatisfied with the service, and a four indicating the student was very satisfied with the service. Numerous UNM programs and departments ranked above a three, including UNM’s overall bachelor, master, and doctorate programs, housing (including private housing), first year and final year experiences, and the university’s intensive English program provided by the Center for English Language and American Culture (CELAC),  a unit of GEO.

Another GEO unit, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), is also preparing to implement a new program called Lobo Friend for fall semester. The program will pair a UNM student with an incoming international student, and requests they socialize together a minimum of four times per semester. The intention is twofold: the UNM student would provide companionship and support for the international student and also learn about another culture in the process. This type of integration, referred to as internationalization at home, could also help encourage UNM students to study abroad before they graduate. 

“Lobo Friend can actually benefit both students,” explained Linda Melville, ISSS associate director. “International students will have a friend when they arrive on campus to help show them around and get them involved with UNM activities and events. Our hope is that our students at home can also learn about other countries and cultures through their friendships with our international students.”

“GEO will continue to collaborate with other departments on campus in order to keep our services relevant for international students,” added Saunders. “We are committed to maintaining a high level of service and integrity to continue providing our visiting students with an exemplary educational experience while they are at UNM.”  

Any UNM student wishing to make new international friends this academic year is encouraged to participate in the new Lobo Friend program. For more information about Lobo Friend, contact GEO at (505) 277-4032 or email

For more information, visit Global Education Office or contact Kat Elwell, public information representative, Global Education Office, (505) 277-0906,