A new mural in the Concordia International Center

The CIC has a new mural that is meant to depict the welcoming community that exists at Concordia.

Saul Leon feels the rewards of Concordia’s welcoming community, and he wants to help ensure others feel welcome here too.

Leon, a senior visual communication major, recently completed a wall mural for the Concordia International Center. His design combines the faces of several CUW international students into one large smiling face that greets you when you enter the CIC from on campus. Surrounding this focal point are several iterations of the phrase “Welcome to Concordia” written in various languages. He solicited photography help from international student Kelvin Kazibwe.

A new mural in the CIC

The son of Mexican immigrants, Leon said he felt a strong pull to this project because of his own experiences growing up in a predominantly Spanish-speaking household.

“I’ve seen international students on campus and it just really resonated with me,” Leon said. “My main goal with the mural was to depict being part of the Concordia family. I love being here and being part of the Concordia family myself. I hope others feel that as well.”  

The mural is the latest addition to an overall CIC refurbishment that was undertaken earlier this year. New loungers, sleek tabletops, wall décor, and reoriented furniture arrangements are all part of the fresh and welcoming aesthetic.

“We wanted to establish a clear hang-out place that’s inviting and accommodating for all students,” said Robin Kuzu, director of international scholar and student services. “It’s not just for our international students, but we do want them, in particular, to feel like they have a specific place on campus. In general, there’s a renewed energy in the CIC this year, and we hope people will come and visit us.”

The International Center is on the rebound from some of the upheaval brought on by the pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, Concordia had the fourth-largest international student enrollment of all universities in Wisconsin, including state schools giants UWM and UW-Madison. International enrollment dipped significantly during the pandemic due to travel bans, but Concordia’s international population is back up to a healthy status this year.

On the CUW side, Concordia has 280 international students representing about 30 different countries. The Ann Arbor campus contributes an additional 21 students.

Both campuses recently celebrated its international population during International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education that universities nationwide take part in annually.

Want in?

We’ve welcomed hundreds of students from all over the world to Concordia. Now you can learn about how to apply, read student testimonials, and what’s it’s like to live in Wisconsin – all in your native language over at our International Microsite.