Happy International Students’ Day! International students attending Villanova is as old as the institution itself, as we remember it was Irish Augustinians’ who founded the College. Not only were Irish the first international students to attend but also Spanish, Cuban, and Puerto Rican students. As you can see in the 1870-1871 list of students.
More history on the earliest students and campus life can be found in Distinctive Collections’ Annual Catalogue collection available in the digital library.
International Students’ Day originates from students’ resistance in the streets of Prague against Nazi occupation on November 17, 1939. Nazis arrested 1,200 students from Czech universities and sent them to concentration camps and shut down all Czech colleges and universities. The resistance inspired the establishment of an anti-Nazi students coalition. In 1941, November 17 was declared International Students Day by the International Students Council in London, which became the foundation for the International Union of Students. Today, International Students’ Day has evolved beyond observance of student activism, but a celebration the cultural diversity that international students bring to their universities.