The International House has moved from its Campus Drive location to expand its space and staff and accommodate the growing number of international students on campus.
After 48 years at its location on 2022 Campus Drive, the International House has officially moved to a location on 300 Alexander Avenue. The new three-story facility—almost double the size of the previous center—will provide more room for programming and intercultural services to suit a growing international population at Duke, said Li-Chen Chin, director of intercultural programs. The new house opened its doors to the public Oct. 17.
“We’ve long realized that the previous location was way undersized for [the International House’s] needs, especially in light of the fact that the number of international students has grown exponentially in the last decade,” Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said. “The former house was inadequate to serve the international community on campus.”
The Campus Drive facility will be used as temporary hub for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, while the office’s current Bryan Center location is evacuated to accommodate upcoming renovations, Moneta said, though he did not specify a timeline.
Four staff positions—two program coordinators, a staff assistant and an office coordinator—have also been added to the International House since the move, Chin said.
In recent years, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has experienced an increasing number of international students coming to Duke—with 142 students from abroad in the Class of 2015 and 164 in the Class of 2016.
Discussions of possibly relocating the International House have been in the works since Chin became the director in 2008.
“During my tenure, the international student population... increased substantially,” Chin wrote in an email Monday. “In addition, because of the University’s growing international reputation, we saw a growth in the number of international scholars, including professors, lecturers and researchers.”
Both Moneta and Chen said student access to the International House should not be affected, given its close proximity to its previous location on Campus Drive.
“We’ve been at the new location for about two weeks and all of our programs continue to be well-attended,” Chin noted.
She added that the house’s position in the heart of Central Campus will expand resources to students living on Central.
International Association President Aum Dasani, a senior, however, said he expects that students will need some time to familiarize themselves with the new house. Because International House is now located in the middle of Central Campus, the new facility can only be accessed by C-2 buses. The old building’s location was on both the C-1 and C-2 routes.
Dasani, nonetheless, noted that the facility’s increased size will allow student groups such as the International Association to hold large student events. Asian Students Association President Ting-Ting Zhou, a senior, added that student access to the International House should not necessarily be hindered by a relatively more obscure location.
“I don’t think the location makes that much of a difference—it’s more about what [the International House] does with the space and how that affects the students going there,” she said.
Correlating with the rise of international students, student participation in International House events has also increased, Dasani said. Although the overall surge in numbers may account for the increased student interest, he noted that the International House has been central in maintaining the connection between the University and international community.
“With the additional staff and fresh perspectives, we expect to continue working with Student Affairs and academic units to expand our offerings, particularly those for international graduate students,” Chen added.