Over twenty countries from around the globe were represented on Thursday, August 20 in students wandering the hallways looking for guidance. The majority of these students had only been in the United States for a week and none had been on campus before.
“We get up to 120 international students per semester,” said Najib Niazi, vice president of the International Student Council (ISC). “Most students are here by themselves and are seeing Utah for the first time. It can be a country of its own.”
The orientation was hosted by the ISC, composed of international student volunteers and dedicated to giving International students a voice on campus.
Adam Black from student advisement and Gus Pacchiega from Campus Connection gave advice that many native students take for granted. The importance of understanding off-campus housing, public transportation and even the location of the post office can be crucial to those whose parents are in another state, much less another country.
Lorianne Gunn, International Student Advisor, called Wal-mart an international student’s “home away from home” as they deal with finding foods that meet their nutritional needs and cater to a student’s budget.
However, the biggest problem international students seem to face is finding support at school. “Students, and even faculty, don’t know how to treat international students,” said Chris Chileshe, president of the ISC. “It’s a real issue. International students need to feel like they have a stake in the school, they pay as much if not more tuition as anyone else. Faculty and Student Government should be asking what they want to learn and facilitate their learning needs.”
It seems that Chris is not the only one who has seen this problem. Lorianne Gunn feels that although there is no reason for any student to do poorly at school with the amount of support that is available, when professors allow international students to struggle, it can become an issue.
“Professors should take advantage of the wonderful talents and customs that international students have to offer. They are motivated to get degrees and with support will continue to work hard,” Gunn said.
The ISC sprung from this lack of integration, facilitation and community outreach. With three committees in student success and community and faculty outreach, they focus on making Utah Valley a more global community.
The UVU Review would like to introduce an international student column to allow international students to have their voice expressed about campus issues. Anyone interested in becoming involved can stop by the Newsroom located in SC 220 or contact Meggie Woodfield, news editor, at [email protected]