Madeleine Jochum showed up for her freshman year of college in the United States with everything she owned packed in one suitcase and a carry-on.

Once here, the University of Colorado psychology and pre-nursing student from Germany made several purchases -- including all new bedding to fit her wider American bed -- and pumped hundreds of dollars into the local economy.

"I sold everything I had at home, and with that money I came here and bought everything new," Jochum said. "I was pretty much starting a new chapter in my life."

International students at CU collectively have an annual $48.9 million impact on the city of Boulder, said Larry Bell, director of international education. Additionally, the 37 foreign students at Naropa University funneled $997,000 into the city, according to a new study from NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Unlike their peers from the United States, international students pay the highest tier of tuition and are more likely to make large-scale purchases upon their arrival -- including cars and furniture that would be impractical to ship overseas. Also, a high proportion of international students are graduate students who bring spouses and children to the United States.

The study released this month from NAFSA, which was formerly known as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers, found international students and their families contributed more than $21.8 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2011-2012 academic year. In Colorado, international students and their families contributed $253.3 million to the economy. Of that, $4.5 million was attributed to foreign students' dependents.


"International students bring important economic benefits to the United States," said NAFSA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Marlene Johnson in a news release. "They bring incalculable academic value to U.S. colleges and universities and cultural value to local communities as international enrollments grow."

This fall at CU, there are 1,643 degree-seeking students with student visas, which is a record-high for the university. CU plans to continually increase the recruitment of international students so there are eventually 900 new students every year and a total of 3,240 -- making up roughly 10 percent of the student body.

For Jochum, her spending will be spread out throughout her time at CU. She's a sophomore this year, living in a furnished apartment so she can put off buying new furniture -- perhaps until she pursues graduate studies.

She immediately noticed some cultural differences surrounding spending when she arrived in the United States.

For example, the vanity closet in her dorm was much larger than standard closets in Germany and there was more than enough space for her clothes, yet others on her floor balked at the cramped closet space, she recalls.

Ayazur Rehman, a graduate mechanical engineering student at CU from India, received his Colorado driver's license about a week ago. He is considering buying a car, but wants to wait until he gets through finals and the fall semester.

When he came to Boulder, he said, he made several purchases ranging from dishes to apartment furniture.

Instead of taking his purchases back to India, he plans to re-sell them or donate them to incoming students at CU who are also from India, he said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or