In the final installment of this week’s series featuring real-life stories about the positive impact of foreign students on state economies and communities around the country (see our posts on the Midwest,  Northeast, and South), we go out West. Foreign students spent $4.7 billion during the 2010-2011 academic year across the western states, according to NAFSA’s Economic Impact Statements released Monday. Overall, foreign students and their dependents contributed $20.2 billion to the U.S. economy in the same time period.

See how each western state benefited in this chart and keep reading for insight into how NAFSA member Bob Ericksen leads efforts to engage international students at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). Learn more about how you can be an advocate during International Education Week at Connecting Our World.

Making Global Connections a Reality

Bob EricksenBy Bob Ericksen
"Global" and "international" are not slogans at UCLA; they are concepts which are fully integrated into our daily lives.

The Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars is where it all comes together. As director of the Center, I have the privilege of overseeing how our team works passionately and enthusiastically to enhance the UCLA experience for international students and scholars with programs and services; assist academic departments with employment-based visa services; and serve as a resource and learning center for the entire UCLA community to promote global connections, international understanding, and cultural sensitivity.

This important work is showcased across campus each year during International Education Week. I hope you enjoy this video that highlights how students benefit from the rich and extensive international education opportunities UCLA has to offer. You can find more information at

Bob Ericksen is director of the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars at University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and a former NAFSA board member. His work in the field of international education started during his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran.