The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a long history as a host institution for international students. In 1990, there were approximately 3,610 international students in residence. These undergraduate and graduate students came from over 122 countries. The University and the Madison community have developed a number of special programs to meet the needs of these students and their families. In addition, many of the international students have formed their own national cultural organizations, both to aid in adapting to life in America and as a means for presenting the richness of their cultures to the Madison community. Dinners, films, and festivals are sponsored by many of these groups. The International Student Services can provide details of the many services, activities, and organizations.
Reflecting the larger University situation, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning has had students from numerous foreign countries. Among them are Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Egypt, Finland, France, Gambia, Ghana, Great Britain, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, The Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Venezuela. The department's faculty are accustomed to working with international students and encourage such students to relate course work and assignments to the situations and problems of their own countries. On group projects, efforts are made to ensure that international and American students interact and learn. Several seminars on planning in developing countries are offered.
It has been the experience of the department that the success of an international student enrolled in its program depends heavily upon possession of a good working knowledge of English. While special courses are available to aid international students in improving their abilities in English and while the Department's faculty are understanding of the problems of comprehension and reading that visiting students often face, a certain basic competency in English is absolutely mandatory. Those prospective applicants who do not feel comfortable with working in the English language are strongly urged to consider further language study before applying for admission into the department's program.