Shorelight helps international students attend top universities in the U.S.
Shorelight helps international students attend top universities in the U.S.

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Introducing Gonzaga Global

Gonzaga University
By Selene Angier
Last updated on March 19, 2021

Welcoming community, strong academics, hands-on faculty: Say hello to Gonzaga Global, a new first-year program for international students at Gonzaga University.

Gonzaga University

A fountain, circular gardens, evergreen trees, and brick building on the Gonzaga University campus in Spokane, Washington

The nickname ‘Zags’ is snappy, easy to remember, and speaks to the spirited nature of students, alumni, and faculty at Gonzaga University: full of energy and ready to take on anything. 

“Gonzaga gives you this challenging embrace; it’s like, ‘Oh, welcome. We want you to be here. We love you for who you are,” says biology major Erik, class of 2020. “But then there’s this flip side — Gonzaga expects you to grow and change, and it challenges you in that.”  

This welcoming community also spoke to Brooklyn, a student who had high school friends attending Gonzaga, and after touring campus, she could feel the ‘Zags help Zags’ sensibility right away. 

“There’s this phrase that I love, that ‘good people know good people,’ and that’s what inspired me to come to Gonzaga,” says Brooklyn (international relations, ’20). “I didn’t know much about the school, but I knew a lot about the people who were here. That is definitely what inspired my decision.” 

Zag Into an Inspiring Community in Spokane

Gonzaga University was founded in 1887 in the tradition of service-oriented Jesuit teaching and is home to more than 7,500 students. Located in the mid-sized city of Spokane, in the eastern part of Washington state, the picturesque campus is an outdoor lover’s dream. 

The Pacific Northwest city sits on the Spokane River between the Cascade and Rocky Mountain ranges. Idaho is just 20 miles away, the Canadian border is two hours away, and the major tech hub of Seattle is a four-hour drive down Route 90, the major interstate highway that spans the United States and connects Seattle and Boston.

Academics, Faculty, and Cura Personalis

The Jesuit teaching mission inspires Cura Personalis, or care for the mind, body, and spirit (e.g. “the whole person”) by encouraging intellectual, personal, social, and physical growth in and out the classroom. That, along with strong academics, award-winning faculty, and its dedication to community service, is why Gonzaga consistently sits in the Top 100 US university ranking lists. 

Ranked #80 on the U.S. News & World Report National Universities list (2021) and #21 on Kiplinger’s Best Value/Private Universities list (2019), the private liberal arts university is an ideal choice for international students who want to study in the USA at an elite institution that rivals a prestigious Ivy League education.

A few more rankings and numbers that tell the story of Gonzaga:

  • #18 Undergraduate Teaching (U.S. News & World Report, 2021), tied with CalTech and MIT

  • #23 Best Engineering Program (U.S. News & World Report, 2021)

  • Top 100 Undergraduate Business Program (U.S. News & World Report, 2021) with #23 Finance and #27 Accounting programs

  • 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio for a supportive experience with professors

  • 95% of 2019 graduates are employed, continuing their education, or doing volunteer work

  • $63,853 average salary for the class of 2019

  • Top 10 College for Student Volunteers (Peace Corps, 2020)

  • 150+ student organizations, groups, and clubs to pursue passions, hobbies, and community connection

  • 21 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances for the top-ranked Bulldogs basketball team

Learn more about US rankings and accreditations >>

Areas of Study, Majors, and Minors 

Gonzaga offers international students 49 majors, nearly 60 minors, and 50 additional concentrations. Business, engineering, social sciences, economics, computer science, psychology, and biology are among the most popular majors. Plus, varied areas of study such as ancient history, painting, dance, and Spanish allow you to augment your education and pursue personal interests and passions as electives. 

The 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio and average class size of 24 gives you direct access to professors and allows for a more hands-on approach. Small class sizes also strengthen interactions with your classmates, leading to lively debates and conversations, as Vietnamese student Ngoc points out. 

“Through the discussions, I learned more about the world by examining different viewpoints from my peers and professors. Listening and having conversation with diverse students is truly thought-provoking,” says Ngoc. “I became more open to new and creative ideas. Also, when working with diverse students, I learned to be adaptable and flexible. This enables me to work with people who come from different backgrounds and have different working styles.”

Classroom teaching is also reinforced with hands-on experience at state-of-the-art facilities and student-focused programs:

  • English Language Center (ELC): International students with no, little, or intermediate English language experience can strengthen their skills at the ELC, where more than 8,500 students from 105 countries have taken courses.

  • Center for Engineering Design & Entrepreneurship (CEDE): Senior student teams work with STEM faculty advisors and mentors to bring their final projects to life.

  • Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC): Students can create and build, using MTC’s makerspace full of welding, milling, fabricating, and plasma cutting equipment. 

  • PACCAR Center: Engineering students can take advantage of this 25,000-square foot facility of tech spaces and labs, including the Smart Antenna & Radio Laboratory and the Avista Transmission & Distribution Power Laboratory.

  • Herak Center: These engineering and computer science facilities offer a 3-D printer for rapid prototyping, robotics, low-speed wind tunnel, soil mechanics space, and more.

Engage with Highly Regarded Faculty

You will go beyond textbook learning at Gonzaga thanks to faculty and teaching staff committed to the Jesuit mission of educating the “whole student,” with a strong emphasis on learning and mentoring. Gonzaga is ranked #18 on U.S. News & World Report’s Undergraduate Teaching list (2021), tied with elite engineering schools CalTech and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

“The relationships here are not just teacher-student relationships, where the teacher gives you lectures and homework,” says Saudi Arabian student Abdullah, who strengthened his English skills at Gonzaga’s renowned English Language Center. “There is communication. There are relationships outside of class during activities, events, in the lobby, during lunch. You talk about life, not only class.”

Student Vanessa (’23) has a similar connection with her teachers, counting her faculty advisor Dr. Julianne Mora among her favorite professors.

“When I met her for the first time, instead of asking me about my major, she sat me down to ask what I wanted to do with my future. I immediately felt so comfortable around her, and [I] gave her a genuine response that went deeper than small talk,” says Vanessa. “Dr. Mora wants to get to know her students and advisees personally and help them reach their potential. Dr. Mora cares about the whole being of the student and will provide you with all the necessary resources to help you succeed within the classroom and beyond.”

A Global Workforce Gateway in the Pacific Northwest 

Spokane is part of the Pacific Northwest gateway, home to Fortune 500 companies, tech giants, and start-ups in Washington state that are eager to hire skilled international students. Gonzaga students have access to Spokane-based companies such as Providence Health and Services, BlueStar Technologies, Ciena, Cisco, Honeywell, and Kaiser Aluminum. Plus, the area is also known for strong economic trade industries like agriculture (being one of the top producers of wheat), manufacturing, energy, mining, and forestry. 

I wanted a small school with big school spirit and I wanted to explore the Pacific Northwest as I’ve always loved the West Coast.” — Valerie, international relations, ’20 

Seattle — just four hours away by car — has the headquarters of major companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft. (Hello, dream job!) Zillow, Zulily, Redfin, Tableau, Payscale, Moz, Avvo, and IMDB are also among the e-commerce, fintech, and software as a service (SAAS) organizations headquartered in the state. Intel, U.S. Bank, Nike, adidas, and ZoomInfo are based in Portland, Oregon, offering students multiple opportunities to pursue internships

Gonzaga’s strong alumni connection gives you access to graduates to network with when applying for jobs. On LinkedIn, you can connect with Gonzaga alumni who work at Amazon, Salesforce, Tesla, Google, Facebook, Nordstrom, Deloitte, and more. 

Students are highly encouraged to visit Gonzaga’s Career Services staff for professional development services like:

  • Career advisors and mentoring 

  • Internship programs and job placement assistance

  • Resume, cover letter, and interview workshops

  • Career fairs and networking events

Career Treks are another key offering from the Career Services office. Students can sign up for guided company tours in cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and London. The companies and organizations featured on previous treks are a who’s who of household names: Amazon, Starbucks, Hewlett Packard, Goldman Sachs, Nike, Google, BP, the New York Stock Exchange, TOMS, and dozens more.

“Without the GU Career Treks, I wouldn’t be working at my dream job,” says student Julia (’18). “Through the Seattle Career Trek, I was able to connect with SAP Concur at the Women Lead Breakfast and during the job fair. In meeting recruiters and sharing my passion for giving back to local communities, I was encouraged to apply for an internship.”

Ready to Succeed at Gonzaga?

“We are thrilled to partner with Gonzaga University and to bring their student-centered approach, dedication to teaching, and commitment to service learning to international students across the globe,” says Shorelight CEO Tom Dretler. “Student success is at the heart of everything we do, and Gonzaga’s combination of high-demand degree programs and a distinct student experience will enable international students to thrive.”

Want to be part of Gonzaga’s first cohort of international students? Talk to a Shorelight advisor today