CWU News

Enrollment Up Dramatically for CWU WorldCats Summer Institute

Central Washington University’s WorldCats Summer Institute will experience an enrollment increase of more than 200 percent this summer, as students from around the globe come to Ellensburg. In all, 73 students will spend part of the summer on campus, up from just 23 students last year.

“It’s a phenomenal success,” said Ann Radwan, Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP) executive director.

Offered through OISP, the two-to-four-week summer program involves students, from Japan and Mexico, who receive exceptional English language instruction paired with considerable cultural immersion.

“Identifiably, we offer a very high-quality product,” Radwan added. “We ensure that the students receive lots of attention, feel welcome, and have a broad experience.”

It is a formula for success that has students from the University of Shimane Junior College, based in Matsue, Japan returning to CWU for the 25th consecutive year.

“Shimane officials actually recommended us to Kurume Institute of Technology [in Fukuoka, Japan],” noted Sherri Fujita, CWU University English as a Second Language director, who pointed out that a contingent of students from that institution are among the newcomers this year.

While students from those institutions, along with others enrolling through Mexico’s Proyetca program, will develop a better grasp of English and American culture, their parents are said to be equally attracted by CWU’s small, safe, college-town atmosphere, where the students don’t need a car, or bus, for transportation. It’s a significant departure for most of those students, who will spend the majority of their lives in cities or major metropolitan areas.

“It gives them a chance to live in the countryside where the air is clean, there’s more green, and a different way of doing things,” Radwan said. “Parents seem to find it somewhat unbelievable that there is still such a space in America.”

Rachel Gordon, OISP project manager added, “So many of the students are amazed to see blue sky or the stars at night.”

Fujita went on to say, “This is America. They feel like they are in the U.S. They feel the energy of campus. This is what they imagined.” 

While at CWU, the students will be offered opportunities for outdoor hikes and horseback riding, along with weekday, and weekend excursions around the area and state. However, many are said to be happy just enjoying the university’s Student Union and Recreation Center, and its cultural, food, and recreational opportunities, along with the chance to live on campus.
“It gives them an opportunity to speak English as much as possible—for repetition and practice,” Fujita explained. “We distinguish ourselves from what they can get in their home countries by offering the whole 360 (degrees), not just an hour in the classroom.”

The enrollment growth is also being attributed, in part, to enhanced networking CWU is doing through established entities and other international connections, such as EducationUSA, a United States Department of State network of more than 400 international student advising centers in some 170 countries around the world.  

“We’re building a client base and ‘trust’ is the key word,” Radwan says. “We provide what we say we are going to offer and the students get exactly what they expect. Everyone understands the value and everyone is satisfied.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,

June 20, 2016