The secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, is currently visiting various Catholic universities in the United States, and is using the opportunity to highlight the contribution and treasures of foreign students in the U.S.
According to the L’Osservatore Romano, the archbishop underscored that “foreign students are the most authorized ambassadors and the most persuasive agents of the market. In a climate such as today’s, which is marked by the spread of xenophobia, global terrorism and a growing instability in various parts of the world, young people, particularly students, can become a prophetic sign that brings peace and reconciliation.”
During his visit to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Archbishop Marchetto explained that in addition to being an economic benefit to the country, “international education is closely linked to policies associated with immigration and to the workplace, to national education, to commerce and other sectors of national development.”
He went on to point out that the education of these students is also important for relations, “whether they are bilateral or international,” which are a “means for building up long-term relations of reciprocal influence.”
The Church also “recognizes that the positive experiences of students, even though they are far away from home, they keep in touch or interact with their countries of origin, and bear spiritual and human fruit.”
Archbishop Marchetto went on to mention the need to welcome foreign university students, which requires “an open mind and concrete willingness.” “In other words, openness is something that should be a priority.”
The Vatican newspaper said the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia are the countries which receive the most foreign students. In the U.S., where most go, the largest group comes from India (15%), followed by China (13%) and Korea, Japan and Canada, totaling 632,805 students.