Ask Abe: First International Student

An Alum

Who was the first international student?

Abe

The first international student was William Stewart from Canada. He was among the 20 students who attended the very first class at the University of Wisconsin on February 5, 1849. In the beginning, there was no faculty adviser for international students; in fact, there wouldn’t be one until 1948. The first international students were welcomed by student organizations instead. One such organization was the International Club, founded in 1903 by a group of UW students representing 11 different countries. It was the first club of its kind at any university. Today, the UW has one of the largest international student bodies in the world at nearly 6,000 students from more than 130 countries.