International Student Rise Affects International Markets

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COLUMBIA - Columbia markets selling food imported from other countries are benfiting from the rise in international students in Missouri.

The Institute of International Education says there were 17,300 international students in Missouri during the 2012-2013 academic year. That's up nearly 8 percent from the previous year. More than 33 percent of international students at Missouri colleges and universities last year were from China. About 13 percent were from India and about 8 percent came from Saudi Arabia.

In a previous interview with University of Missouri's Director of International Student and Scholar Services, David Currey said the numbers of international students in the past decade have increased dramatically. He said this year more then 2500 international students are at MU and the numbers are continuing to grow.

MU has more international students than any other college or university in the state. MU had the highest number with nearly 2,500.

"International students contribute about 25 billion dollars to the American economy and to the Missouri economy about 452 million dollars," said Currey.

There are about five stores in Columbia selling international foods.

Ahmed Youssef El-Tayash's dad started A&Y Global Market in downtown Columbia in 1984 to help pay for school at MU. El-Tayash said there was a growing international community in Columbia and a need for international groceries in the 80's.

"Definitely help as the international community grows because we have imported groceries," said El-Tayash.

He said international students can find a lot of food items they could find back home.

In 2011, A&Y Global Market moved location from Locust Street to Fourth Street.

"It expanded to four times the size. So, that shows that it's definitely helping that there's more international students," said El-Tayash. "It became more diverse."

He said the market had to start carrying a wider variety of international foods and needed more room to store the products.

Daewun Sin is now the owner of Chong's Oriental Market, an Asian focused market that his mother started about two decades ago.

"Over the years we can definitely see an increase in revenue," said Sin. He said the increase in international students has a lot to do with the revenue increase.

Columbia is growing as well, especially the Asian population, said Sin. Sin said about a year and a half ago his family decided to renovate the market.

"Because of that we have about fifty percent more products," said Sin.

Sin said as international students in Missoui continue to increase, there'll be greater demand for the oriental products.