SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Students at Augustana University are beginning their spring semester this week, and there is a record number of new international students on campus.

This week, Augie welcomed 43 new international students; not only is it a spring record, it nearly doubles previous class sizes.

Rahul Sharma came to Augustana from Nepal. He arrived on campus just a couple days ago and already feels at home.

“The community here at Augustana is quite welcoming, like how the people waited for me at the airport, as well as professors. I had like three classes yesterday all of the classes are a bit hard as I’m double majoring in engineering as well as data science, but the resources I get to use at this campus are super nice,” Sharma said.

Augustana says they are excited to welcome a recorded breaking class of international students.

“The pandemic has had something to do with it, we had a handful of students that were forced to defer their enrollment you know with Visa challenges and travel challenges getting to the US, also just think that a number of our relationships around the world are maturing in a lot of ways,” said Ben Iverson, Director of International Programs.

The 43 students represent 19 different countries.

“I have friends from 10 countries already and I think I am an ambivert so I have made a lot of friends and its not only about friendships, I get to know new culture and diversity that we are sharing as well as I am able to know what American culture is as well as Norwegian culture, Brazilian culture, Indian and well as Nepali culture, I am making a lot of friends from different continents of the whole world here at Augie,” said Sharma.

The smaller class sizes at the Sioux Falls campus also make the adjustment to a new country a little easier.

“I have like one on one interaction. It was my first class yesterday but I didn’t feel like it was my first class,” said Sharma.

In total, Augustana has nearly 150 international students, that come from 50 different countries around the world.