In any year, being an international student comes with its share of challenges, from passports to housing to cultural differences. But in today’s tumultuous political climate in the U.S. and abroad, students looking to enroll in another country can face even greater obstacles.

This week, more than 1,300 high school counselors and college admissions professionals are gathering at Case Western Reserve to consider such issues—and discuss how they can best support international students in their journeys.

The university is hosting the International Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual conference today through Friday. The attendees hail from nearly 1,000 high schools, colleges and organizations across 88 countries.

The week’s agenda includes its share of topics shaped by recent global headlines—for example, Brexit’s impact on higher education or support for students from war-torn nations. But it also includes perennial topics such as managing financial aid and empowering LGBTQ students. Freda Levenson, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, will deliver the conference keynote address.

After-hours options include an evening of dining and dancing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as unscheduled time to explore Cleveland, which Travel + Leisure readers ranked one of the nation’s best food cities.

“As host of the 2017 International Association for College Admission Counseling conference, Case Western Reserve University and the city of Cleveland will receive tremendous exposure on a global stage,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Richard Bischoff.

The university has made significant gains in international admissions since 2008. The percentage of incoming undergraduate international students has grown from 3 percent to 15 percent while the overall international student population overall has nearly doubled, from 1,076 to 2,026.

Such growth—along with other campus initiatives—helped earned the university win the 2016 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education for innovative and successful programs in internationalization. Hosting the conference also gives Case Western Reserve’s admissions professionals a chance to continue those gains by building on their existing knowledge.

“It should be an opportunity for our team to remain up to date on what’s going on and, probably more importantly, to hear from international counselors what they’re hearing from families who are in the midst of the college search process,” Bischoff said.

Conference programming will take place across campus, and more than 700 people will stay in the North Residential Village for the week. The Office of Enrollment Management, the Center for International Affairs and University Housing have played key roles in executing the weeklong conference. The campus community should expect increased foot and vehicle traffic throughout the week.

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