Before becoming the managing director of Wyoming International at the University of Wyoming, Manuela Hofer-McIntyre embarked on a remarkable journey from Austria to Laramie (with a stop in Florida along the way). In the United States, Manuela discovered her professional passion: enriching the lives of international students and encouraging inclusivity at the University of WY.
Manuela’s Journey from Austria to Wyoming
As the managing director of Wyoming International, Manuela plays a key role in shaping the international student experience at the University of Wyoming. With an extensive background in international education and a personal commitment to promoting a diverse and inclusive campus environment, Manuela is uniquely qualified to welcome and support students from around the world.
Born and raised in a rural town in Austria’s southeastern region, Manuela decided to pursue research for her graduate school program in the US. The experience was life-changing.
“I went to the University of West Florida, so that’s when I really started getting a glimpse of how amazing it is to have that international experience,” she said. International education “not only opens many doors, but we learn so much about our strengths and weaknesses and competences — everything that makes us up as a person.”
This transformative experience ignited her passion for international education and set her on a path to making a meaningful impact in the lives of students who also wanted to study abroad.
“After my degrees, I worked in different professional areas, [then] moved to Wyoming in 2005,” she said. “This was a place that was really not on my radar when I was a young person ... and I totally fell in love with it.” Nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Laramie’s warm and tight-knit community quickly won her heart. The area was tranquil, but also just two hours from Denver, Colorado — a rural setting with city benefits never far away.
Manuela’s Experience at Wyoming International
Having previously worked at the University of Wyoming in a different role, and maintaining great relationships with key university stakeholders, Manuela stepped into the role of managing director at Wyoming International with confidence. Her experience with students and the time she spent studying abroad has helped Manuela understand the different needs of international students and how to make them feel at home in Wyoming.
Wyoming International, a collaboration between the University of Wyoming and Shorelight, provides international students with exclusive admissions services, academic and language support, and career development opportunities.
Although it’s a recent addition to the university’s offerings, Wyoming International has quickly become an integral part of the campus community. The University of Wyoming has an annual enrollment of approximately 12,000 students, 5% of whom are international. Student initiatives play a big part in bringing the campus community together.
“One of the things I really appreciate, and I think the students appreciate, is [that] we have a lot of student clubs,” Manuela said.
With 300+ student clubs, including an International Student Association (ISA), Central Asian Student Association (CASA), and Associated Students Interested in China (ASIC), there is a wide variety of student-run organizations international students can join to connect with peers from their home countries or to explore different cultures and interests.
When it comes to academics, the University of Wyoming’s most popular majors among international students include computer science, engineering (including civil and architectural, chemical, electrical, mechanical, and petroleum), management, economics, the arts, and top-ranked agriculture as well as environmental and natural resources programs. Hands-on learning is a big part of the academic experience, with many opportunities for students to collaborate in teams, conduct research outside the classroom, or pursue a campus job or internship.
Manuela also highlighted the university’s 1:13 faculty-to-student ratio. With smaller class sizes, students can benefit from personalized attention and focused learning experiences while building strong relationships with their professors. Professors actively encourage students to ask any questions they have, seek help, and nurture their curiosity.
“Wyoming International brings a very strong international faculty population,” she said. “It’s not only the student population, but also the staff and faculty population that’s quite diverse here on campus.”
Manuela’s Advice for International Students
Manuela emphasized the university’s dedication to supporting international students through Wyoming International and the International Students & Scholars office. From assisting with travel plans to ensuring a smooth transition to life in Laramie, the program provides support when students apply to Wyoming International and all the way through graduation.
“And, of course, during orientation, we take students and show them where to shop; we do campus tours; we introduce them to the library, and to our mental health programs if needed. We show them where the bookstore is, and all the other places that help them navigate life in a new cultural environment. We make sure they can find their classes once they register, and also introduce them to the community itself,” she explained.
Additionally, the university’s International Students & Scholars office also collaborates closely with the Wyoming International team, providing continuing support for international students.
For students who are still considering whether to study abroad, Manuela recommends making the leap and getting out of one’s comfort zone. At Wyoming, she noted, they will discover a world where they are never alone and can always find support.
“Pick [a program] where you can get a great education, where education is very affordable in comparison to other universities, where you have a lot of one-on-one time with your faculty, and where you are safe in a community,” she said. “Look for a place where you can walk away with a degree that will be life-changing and the cornerstone for a great professional career.”
Manuela’s journey to Wyoming International is proof that an international education can lead to a fulfilling and successful career. By pursuing your degree in the US, you can gain a global perspective, create lifelong memories, and find a diverse, welcoming community.
Explore how the University of Wyoming can help you achieve your academic and career goals while offering you guidance and support every step of the way.